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Issius

How does oral herpes actually spread?

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Issius

It's hard to find consistent information online so I figured I'd ask.

I recently met a girl who I want to go out with, but she has oral herpes and I'm wondering if it's transferable when there is no outbreak.

She said she got it by sharing a drink with someone and that she is "safe" as long as there aren't any cold sores or anything. I'm willing to deal with outbreaks as they come, but I just want to know that it's OK to kiss her when theres no visible signs of it.

Any information would be great =)

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VVK

Hi,

On average, a person sheds the virus for about 3 weeks during the year - and this doesn't have to be 3 weeks straight, it could be a day or two with breaks inbetween. That's one of the interesting things about the virus and why it is so "successful".

So no, you're never really safe. If you want to take a 5% chance when there's no visible outbreak, then go for it - but at your own risk. Just make sure that you understand what the consequences are of having this - it's not just the outbreaks, there are long-term risks as well (emotional pain, symptoms, stigma, and not the best senior years either..). Different people get affected by the virus differently - so you might not show any symptoms at all or you might get outbreaks all the time if you got it.

I would say - get yourself tested for herpes and see if you already have it. You might be asymptomatic. Also, does she have genital and/or oral herpes? Did she get tested for both? She might be asymptomatic for genital herpes.

This is not meant to scare you or to suggest that you should break up with the girl. However, I can't ethically justify that it is okay to have this virus - oral or genital. I got it when I was very young - I don't remember how - but I do know that I don't want it and I don't want to spread it to others either. For me this means no kissing.. I figure it could be worse :(

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Issius

Thanks for the information. It wasn't really what I was looking for, but I guess I'd rather the truth...

As far as I know she only has oral herpes, she said it was from sharing a drink, although I guess it's possible she has genital as well.

My main concern I guess, is that I could go out with someone else and be fine, but they could have it as well and maybe not even know it. So at least in this case I know about it and can take precautions when necessary. I.e., avoid physical contact around infected areas during an outbreak, etc, etc.

As for personal experience...is there any precautions you can take while kissing (that wouldn't be completely awkward obviously) or do you just avoid it at all costs because I'm honestly not willing to do that.

Anyway, thanks for the information, it was very helpful. I guess I just need to figure out what I want to do now.

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VVK

Yes, with 80+ % of the population infected with OHSV and many of them not knowing what it is, the the odds are against you. Nor are people simply statistics. It's better to be safe than sorry, so I still think you should both get tested to be sure if you're not already a carrier.

I'm avoiding kissing at all costs and it has been difficult to adjust to that. If you're going to go for it, then you have half of it down already - avoid kissing her on the lips during an outbreak when there are sores, when there's signs of redness and bumps, when she's stressed (near her period), when she's sick. Ask her if she knows other things that trigger her outbreaks and establish a dialogue so that she can protect you. Hey, this could be a good bonding experience if you really care about her.

Also, it would really help to get both of your immune systems to be strong. The commonly suggested supplementations are with zinc, vitamins b, c, and e. It is best to find food sources for these, since they are absorbed better than just the pills.

There are also herbs out there, such as echinacea, although I can't attest to its effectiveness. It hasn't helped me. There are also posts on these forums about maintaining an alkaline diet and avoiding arginine-rich foods. Moderate exercise also boosts immune function, so staying active should help as well.

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VVK

I forgot to mention arginine and lysine. You want to decrease arginine levels in the body and increase lysine levels. Arginine is apparently necessary for the replication of the virus.

Look into what foods contain what levels of these amino acids. For example, chocolate and caffeine seems to be culprits in having high arginine content, so it is good to avoid them.

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foreversingle

New to this...

VVK--

I have a couple of questions. .do you have Oral HSV? If so how long have you known? And you are avoiding kissing all together? How are you dating?

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VVK

Yes, for as long as I can remember, yes, I have a partner (H-) and so I don't date. If I were to date, then it would have to be somebody that I would have known for a long time and who doesn't think that being unable to kiss means being unable to love, for example.

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foreversingle

Thanks VVK. Just want to be clear so that I understand and try to figure it out..

By kissing do you mean not even a kiss on the cheek? To me, a kiss is such the first and simple sign of affection. Whether it be a kiss from your mother, or to your child, or to your lover. That is why I am struggling with this...

Also, you mentioned that your partner is H- how do they deal with not being kissed at all and what alternatives do you suggest (dont mean to be graphic) just trying to understand.

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VVK

When I first found out that I had OHSV, it was difficult to get used to not kissing - the act was like a reflex for me, so I had to pretty much train myself to restrain it. I completely understand why not kissing is so difficult. These days I just don't do it at all - replacements are mostly hugs, back rubs, and my partner is still allowed to kiss me (not on or anywhere near the lips, of course). As for sex, that's still okay (don't have GHSV) - could be better, but I have my means of compensating ;). It isn't like I am happy with the situation - I understand it though and hope that sometime in the not-too-distant future the precautions won't be necessary.

I know this isn't for everyone and again, I can completely understand why.

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foreversingle

confused

Thanks for you answer! As a way of a background. I happened to take a blood test as part of my usual STD test (my old doctor didnt believe in it unless you had an outbreak, my new one does...), and they told me that I had HSV-1. I dont know where it is, since I have never had an outbreak. I have not had sex in the past year but I have kissed someone but no one has ever come back to me and said....

I am less worried about the effects on me physically then the emotional stigma. To me, kissing is important sign of affection, maybe even more important then actual sex. Honestly, I dont want to give it up , though I realize that its not just about me, so I am trying to find the correct balance of when to tell someone and what precautions to take.

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BerryBlis

Just wanted to say to the original poster, be very careful. My boyfriend recently gave it to me and I am braking out very, very bad (never had it before). He showed no signs whatsoever on his lips but it was still transferred to me.

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