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Which bodily fluids can carry the herpes virus?

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I'll let someone else fill in the details about the other fluids, but I just wanted to tell you that yes, if you are shedding, and you have oral hsv, it can be spread by saliva- yes, just through saliva- even without any skin to skin contact- I'm living proof of that! I would think the CDC's website should have reasonably accurate info.

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The CDC says this:

"Fluids found in a herpes sore carry the virus, and contact with those fluids can cause infection. You can also get herpes from an infected sex partner who does not have a visible sore or who may not know he or she is infected because the virus can be released through your skin and spread the infection to your sex partner(s)."


So... The way I understand that is you have to have fluid from the actual sore OR the skin to skin contact.


@in_the_same_boat, you got HSV from saliva only? Are you sure your partner didn't have a sore in an area that wasn't visible and the saliva just carried the secretions to you? (Ex. throat or inside the nose)

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Yes, he licked or spat on his hand, then stuck it someplace he shouldn't have. I wouldn't have believed it either, if it hadn't happened to me. At first, when the itching started, I thought, no… there is just no way… he developed cold sores the same day I broke out- exactly one week after exposing me to it… so he was shedding, with no knowledge of it…I think it was the CDC's website that says shedding is very common about a week prior to and after an ob.

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No. You have to touch the fluid from the sore or the skin during viral shedding. If it were present in other fluids, I probably would've contracted it on my thighs/stomach by now, especially prior to my first OB/early on lol (bf's semen burns if he doesn't pull out, so I have him finish elsewhere).

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Anyway, if you google it, most (reputable) sites state that it can be present in saliva for oral hsv, and in semen and vaginal fluids for genital hsv. I don't want to cause anyone to panic… just to be aware.


This is not true. When herpes "reawakens" from latency in your spinal cord, it travels via neurons (usually the same neurons it used to establish latency during primary infection- this is why we get our outbreaks in the same area every time) to the skin surface where it replicates and either sheds asympomatically or presents as symptomatic sores. The only way for one to be infected is for someone's vulnerable skin surface to come into contact with someone else's skin surface that is actively shedding or has active sores. The herpes virus is not present in blood, saliva, urine, semen, or any other bodily fluid.

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I think it becomes confusing when they talk about it being in fluids and being carried by fluids. I agree with the previous posters that it is not in fluids themselves. I think the misunderstanding comes from the fact that if you have a blister, and it opens, then the fluid from that can be "carried" (or can travel) in other fluids.


@in_the_same_boat. This is a possibility that you might want to consider- Maybe your giver has HSV1 orally AND genitally. A blood test would not differentiate where exactly the virus is, just that the person is positive. Maybe..your giver never had an outbreak in the genital region, but that does not mean they do not have it there. It may be rare, but not impossible. I think it would be more impossible to get it the way you feel you did.

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@MMissouri, it makes no difference to me if my giver has genital HSV or not, because we have never had intercourse… To any other non-believers, hey, I thought it was impossible, too. Believe me- I wish it were impossible- I would give up everything I own if only it could be impossible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm not saying it is always present in the saliva if you have oral hsv. I am not saying it is often in your saliva if you have oral hsv. I'm saying that if you are symptomatically or asymptomatically shedding, it can be present in your saliva, and if this were not possible, I wouldn't have it. I know it may be easy to think, well, it could have been from someone else, but I had no contact with anyone else for years and years AND- because of the precise location of the outbreak- it's in a location that I wouldn't normally utilize during sex.

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I don't really understand all the details about the shedding part yet, but since you can test positive with a swab while shedding, it makes sense that it could be carried in the saliva at that point. It's such a confusing virus, so hard to pin point all the details (and frankly they don't know them all yet, so I guess there is always that possibility of something different than the norm)

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As @Beachdude pointed out, the virus is not "in" saliva or semen ... it sheds from the area of skin where the OB is (or would in the case of asymptomatic shedding) occuring. However, if you are shedding and you happen to have sex, then the bodily fluids will pick up the virus and "carry" them that way... hence why some people believe that you can get H from bodily fluids :/

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I understand the confusion now. Yes, I suppose it's entirely possible for saliva or vaginal fluid to pass over a shedding skin surface and "carry" the virus elsewhere. But it's very important to note that, unlike other viruses such as HIV, the herpes virus is not inherently contained in bodily fluids. This is a big misconception about HSV that I have read on numerous occasions.

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