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HSV 1 Genital to Genital Transmission Rates

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It would seem that a lot of people are getting genital HSV 1 now yet HSV 1 is still called cold sores and doesn't have the stigma that HSV 2 has.


Do people with HSV 1 genital have to disclose?


Isn't stigmatizing one form but not the other helping to spread genital herpes in general? By having "harmless" herpes and a "bad" one, the people with HSV 1 maybe aren't going to take precautions to stop the spread.


If the two herpes were joined under "genital herpes" and not distinguished as type 1 or 2, wouldn't that be better overall for everyone?


What are the rates of genital to genital transmission of HSV1?

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HSV1 sheds in the genitals about half as much, so the transmission rates would be about half that of HSV2. (That's also assuming that your body/immune is handling it as it should)


I believe it's this forum's perspective (and my own) that disclosure when it comes to anything sexual (more than kissing or anything pants off/below the belt) is the way to go.


They ARE the same thing. We don't have a group for GHSV-1 and GHSV-2. It's genital herpes. The only reason we ask about the difference is it helps change how the disclosure goes, and the relative risk to partners. See below, even the WHO calls it genital herpes.


I think that differentiation - that "cold sores" *are* the same as "herpes" speaks to the need for education. People even say "I have a cold sore" and if you tell them it's herpes it's like "no, it's a cold sore." I think the thing to say would be to stop calling it "cold sore" medication - Abreva should be required to call it herpes, and suddenly now the stigma goes down, 'cause there's Aunt Peggy buying Herpes Treatment at Rite Aid.


50% of new Genital Herpes cases are HSV-1. The WHO just released numbers around this, which I think you've seen. They're trying to get the word out:


The new estimates highlight, however, that HSV-1 is also an important cause of genital herpes. Some 140 million people aged 15-49 years are infected with genital HSV-1 infection, primarily in the Americas, Europe and Western Pacific. Fewer people in high-income countries are becoming infected with HSV-1 as children, likely due to better hygiene and living conditions, and are instead at risk of contracting it genitally through oral sex after they become sexually active.


“Access to education and information on both types of herpes and sexually transmitted infections is critical to protect young people’s health before they become sexually active,” says Dr Marleen Temmerman, Director of WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research.

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Just out of curiosity, for anyone who happens to read this - there are the stats and all talking about spreading hsv1 genital to genital, but has this actually happened to anyone on this forum? Or has anyone passed it that way? I know that theoretically it's possible, but does anyone have experience with this happening? Just curious.

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I caught HSV 1 on my genitals in 1987 by holding hands with a little kid who had cold sores. Went to the bathroom and apparently transferred it to the inside of my leg near my genitals. Had the viral prodrome (fever, achey joints) and 3 days later broke out in one small HSV blister (got it tested, yes it was herpes). My husband and I used a condom for a year and a half but got sick of it and decided to just use a condom if I had an outbreak. however, my husband DID catch the HSV-1 from me when I did NOT have an outbreak. Like me, he had the viral prodrome (that's how you know for sure it's an initial infection--neither of us had been exposed to cold sores as kids) and then broke out in genital herpes. He has never had another outbreak. I have not had an outbreak of genital herpes in 20 years but we transferred it orally and I have had oral cold sores a few times when I was run down. So yes, it happens. Sorry.

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