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First post here 🙂

A new partner of mine (we have not been sexual yet) has advised me that she has HSV1. 

I was just wondering if y’all could maybe help me with some things, because I am getting conflicting information online.

1)    If I have had cold sores my whole life, don’t I technically already have HSV1 too? It is different in the genitals vs. oral yes? I was also pretty promiscuous in my past, but I’ve never been tested because doctors always told me I couldn’t be because I get cold sores (I’ve had no symptoms genitally ever). 

2)    I’ve read that it’s hard for people who have it orally, to then contract it genitally. Is this true?

3)    How protective are condoms in this situation? (I am a guy). I have read everything from only 50% to “hugely protective”. 

Any help at all is so appreciated! I really like this girl and this has put a bit of a dampener on the situation 😞


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I have to put here that i'm no expert.  and i just recently just got diagnosed myself with HSV1 so what i will tell you is only based on my research, it may or may not be correct.

#1 Cold sores can be caused by both HSV1 and HSV2, but usually HSV1 is associated with oral lesions (cold sores) while HSV2 is on the genital.  But both can show up themselves on both areas.  An IGG bloodtest will tell you which one you got, but will not tell you where it is.

#2 Based on my research, it says no.  There's always a risk since you have this in your body.  Though chances of transmitting increases significantly if you have genital lesions, but it doesnt stop transmission if you dont have it at all.  Also engaging in oral sex will transmit from mouth to genital pretty easily.

#3 Unfortunately condoms doesn't help much in this situation since there are areas around your genital that are not covered by it that can still transmit the infection.  condom helps, but will not protect 100% for that exact reason. *again based on research*


I hope this helps!

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If you already have cold sores, you already have antibodies to HSV-1. It is uncommon for people who already have cold sores to get HSV-1 genitally (see here for more info: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/herpes-simplex-virus). 

Female to male transmission rate is about 4% when no condom and no antivirals are used (and when the male does not have HSV-1 antibodies). You can download an ebook and handouts through this link (this is from the Herpes Opportunity website) that provides helpful information on transmission statistics: https://herpeslife.com/free-ebook?sc=blog

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