Can I Get Genital Herpes Inside Mouth?

Getting genital herpes inside mouth is something that bothers many individuals who have partners that are infected with herpes. Let’s lay down some common facts for a second.

The herpes simplex virus type 1 strongly prefers the oral area for infection while the herpes simplex virus type 2 prefers the genital area. Does this mean that genital herpes cannot be passed on to the mouth?

Since each herpes virus type has a preferred body area to infect, the chances of transmission to another body area is lower. That means that you are more likely to get it on your genitals from an infected person than genital herpes inside mouth.

Say, you had both genital and oral sex with a person with genital herpes, there is a bigger chance for you to be infected on the genitals than in the mouth.

But still, there is a risk of transmission of herpes from the genitals of one person to the mouth of another.

Herpes Shedding

genital herpes inside mouth

(picture of genital herpes inside the mouth)

The problem with herpes is that it sheds the virus a lot more often than we have previously known.

The genital area especially has a high percentage of shedding the herpes virus than anywhere else.

If you swab your genital area and your oral area, there will be more instances of the virus being present in the genital swab than the one from the mouth.

This is why herpes transmission is still very much possible even without the symptoms.

Even if the recurrence occurs infrequently or even stops, you will still be shedding the virus and thus will still be capable of infecting others.

Symptoms of Genital Herpes inside the Mouth

Genital herpes inside mouth produces the same symptoms as if it is in the genitals.

  • Blisters
  • Sores
  • Skin cracks, fissures and ulcers
  • Itchy areas on the skin
  • Pain

Preventing Transmission

There are a number of ways to avoid transmitting genital herpes inside the mouth:

  1. Medications. Taking antiviral medications like Valtrex is proven to help lower the risk of herpes transmission by almost 50 percent.
  2. Avoiding sex during outbreaks. Your body sheds herpes virus a lot more often than you know. During herpes outbreaks, the virus is actively being shed so it would be wise to avoid sex during these times.
  3. Using condom. Studies have shown that using male condoms reduce the risk of transmission by 50 percent.
  4. Telling your partner. The simple act of telling your partner that you have herpes is an important step in preventing transmission of herpes. Besides, it strengthens the trust between the two of you.

Page last updated: January 7, 2014

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