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Disclose cold sores before even kissing someone?


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Recently infected with HSV1 orally and genitally. My now ex boyfriend of 7 1/2 years decided he no longer wanted to have sex with me after he infected me, even though he knew the infection came from a cold sore breakout he had two days after we had spent the night having sex. Now wondering about when to disclose cold sores before even kissing someone! Btw 52 years old and apparently had never been exposed to HSV1 before. Confirmed by doctors!


What do you suggest about disclosing cold sores, which would be earlier on in a new relationship than disclosing genital HSV1?

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i think talking about having oral cold sores is a fantastic idea and practice more people need to adopt! i received HSV1 genitally from someone's mouth who hadnt even had a cold sore in 2 years. Many people don't know it can be transmitted so easily like that (i didnt). but knowledge is power!

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My ex boyfriend's cold sore episodes were rare. 2 or 3 in almost 8 years! Also didn't know how easily it could be passed on.

I was infected genitally and orally a day or so before prodrome symptoms. He doesn't have gHSV.

How long since you were diagnosed? How have things been in your relationship(s). This is all new for me and I'm feeling my way through how to handle disclosure to others.

I've also had concerns about passing infection to my children. Luckily found some good resources!

I've been adjusting to the infection, although I still feel less desirable, and more vulnerable than before.

Ah well! It's early days. Only infected in July!

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Hi LilyCara!


First things first, welcome to our community. Good to have you here sharing yourself.


Second things second, be aware of the words you use and the effect they have on how you relate to your herpes diagnosis. I don't know about you, but when I hear "infected" I think that immediately following that will be "the plague" or "a demon" ... something that will make me die a horrible, horrible death. But I don't think herpes. Here's a blog article on the power of the words we use:



And about your question with disclosing cold sores (oral herpes, HSV-1), that's a GREAT question. And one that has come up quite a bit on these forums. I can't find the other posts that discussed this topic off the bat, but I went ahead and wrote a blog article on this topic to flesh it out. Here it is:


Note: This is for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute medical advice or diagnosis.
I'm not a medical professional, so please take this as friendly peer support. 

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Also, LilyCara,


Passing herpes to your children has a little-to-none possibility of happening. I understand the paranoia, but it's not helping anyone for you to be paranoid of touching your own children. They need the touch of their mother. So get the knowledge you need to get to quell the paranoia. Be careful when you have an outbreak about touching the outbreak and then touching them. That's it. And washing your hands with soap kills the herpes virus immediately. In between outbreaks, no worries at all.


Here are some links from the blog and forum that are related so you can get more facts:





Note: This is for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute medical advice or diagnosis.
I'm not a medical professional, so please take this as friendly peer support. 

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i do get herpes on my mouth from my mother when i was around 8 but i think she had an open outbreak but you shouldn't worry to pass it to your kids when you dont show any herpes symptoms. 90 percent of humans have this virus HSV-1 .Actually i wasnt aware of the possibilty that i could get or give herpes 1 to another person when i give him oral sex but sure i never did it when i had an outbreak. So it could be that i gave it to my ex or he had it before and gave it to me, it doesn't matter because its the past ......dont hold on that.I am sorry that he don't wanna have sex with you after he gave it to you , in your case its really obviously that he gave it to you (because you got both in one night), thats quit bad things to say.


Anyway i give you a big hug, thinks will get better...i am sure.keep your head up

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  • 3 months later...



I have seen a lot of information lately but cannot find anything about the transmission rate of oral HSV-1 from kissing, and also from oral sex to a non-H partner? I understand that transmission from oral sex is more common than that from genital HSV-2 but I would like to know the actual rate.


Do you know what these statistics are or where I can find this information?



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Hi HSVquestions!


Have you read the handouts? Those go into details, including viral shedding rates, which gives you a clue as to what the possibility of transmitting herpes based on the strain of herpes and where it is on your body:


Note: This is for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute medical advice or diagnosis.
I'm not a medical professional, so please take this as friendly peer support. 

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Hi Adrial,


Yes, I have looked over those two sheets and while they were both very enlightening they still do not answer my question. I see the rates of viral shedding for both types, % of ppl that have each and % of ppl that don't know, and the transmission rates of HSV-2.


But what I would like to know specifically is if I have oral HSV-1:


1. What is the transmission rate for transmitting it to someone's mouth?

2. What is the transmission rate for transmitting it to someone's genitals?



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First, welcome!


I'm not sure if there are those exact stats anywhere ( I just spent the better part of an hour looking for it on the web) but here is a way to get an idea using the viral shedding stats; this is ONLY an assumption.... you'd think there would be stats easily available but I couldn't find any :p


Genital herpes (HSV-2) = 15-30% of the time


Female-Male transmission is normally about 4% at this rate of shedding if you are not using any form or suppressive therapy or condoms.... each of those protective measures cuts the rates by 50%....


Genital herpes (HSV-1) = 3-5% of the time


I'm not a math whiz but I would thus estimate the rate of transmission to be around 1% for genital to genital transmission - remember that HSV1 prefers the mouth so I would say the rates of Genital to Oral would be higher than genital to genital.


Oral herpes (HSV-1) = 9-18% of the time


Again - just guessing but I'd say rates would be about 2% Oral to Genital...although rates of transmission to the genitals is on the increase - at least 50% of all new genital cases are HSV1. I'm not sure if that is because the virus may be mutating or if it's because people think oral sex is "safe" :p


Oral to Oral would likely be higher because you have the virus in it's preferred hangout for both giver and receiver .... sooooo many of us were given HSV1 as kids by some unwitting adult or playmate.. I got mine at 3 yrs of age... either from someone giving me a kiss or sharing a drink or lip balm with a full-on outbreak.


I DID find stats for just how common HSV1 Oral is:


The first infection (for HSV1) usually occurs between 6 months and 3 years of age. By adulthood, nearly all people (60 - 90%) have been infected with HSV-1. Of those who are seropositive for HSV1, only 20-40% have recurrent cold sores (ie, the rest never have oral outbreaks)


Thus, I wouldn't worry about Oral to Oral transmission... odds are we have all been repeatedly exposed to HSV1 orally many many times and a few just get lucky and don't get it. Just learn what your prodrome symptoms are (I can tell when I'm having an OB when the first few cells are blowing up now ... I can get it under control before I have any outward symptoms 99% of the time because I know what my "tingle" feels like.) and don't kiss during that time. And NEVER share lip balm (although it's probably OK if it's been sitting awhile because the virus can't live outside the body very long... but people often pass it around so avoid that).


Hope this helps. It's mostly guesswork so keep that in mind :)



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  • 2 months later...



First - welcome and glad you came on here to get your questions answered.


In a word... yes, it is possible. The antivirals REDUCE the risk by about 50% - maybe more, but it isn't guaranteed to completely stop the virus. 50% of new genital herpes cases are from HSV1.


The asymptomatic shedding rates and other info are on the handouts here... shedding isn't a guarantee that you will pass it to the other person but the major issue is that you can't tell when it's happening.


Handouts + Disclosure e-book:



Digest this info in the handouts and then come back with any more questions. We are here to help you get educated and informed.. :)

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