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If someone contracted HSV 1 on their genitals from oral sex,can it spread to another person from sex? I was told it was a low chance.

Hi, and thanks for your question

Actually the herpes virus, whether it is HSV-1 or HSV-2, is very easily spread by skin-to-skin contact. So yes, if someone gets a herpes infection on the genitals from oral sex, it is absolutely possible to then pass that infection to another partner during sexual contact.

Keep in mind, however, that while herpes is easily spread (which is why it’s so very common!) it is only being passed when the virus is active. Typically this means that it’s only spreading when the symptoms of blisters or lesions are present on the skin. When the blisters heal, the virus goes to “sleep” on the nerve pathway and is not being passed until it wakes up again. The frequency of when the virus “wakes up” and spreads from person to person varies. Some people only ever get one outbreak in their lifetime, while other people might have 2 or 3 outbreaks per year.

If you’re interested in reading more about herpes and the virus that causes it, have a look at our Herpes: Patient’s Guide.

Let us know if this does not answer your question or if you have any more questions or concerns.
Health Nurse

This answer was posted on October 7, 2019

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