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The emergence of cold sores and whether or not they are herpes related

  • herpes
  • oral herpes
  • genital herpes
  • hsv-1
  • hsv-2

Question:

"I had unprotected vaginal and oral sex with a man. He told me he didn't have any STDs. I got a cold sore on my mouth three days later (although this is not uncommon for me). Do I have herpes?"

- Anonymous

Response:

This is a great question. We can't know your exact status based on the information you gave us, but we can tell you some important things about herpes.

There are two types of herpes, HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 is often referred to as oral herpes. HSV-2 is often called genital herpes. A lot of people can get oral herpes in ways that are unrelated to sexual activities. If you have been getting cold sores on your mouth for quite some time, it is possible that you have HSV-1 and that you've had it for a while. 

HSV-2 manifests itself as spots and sores on or around the genitals. It can be spread via skin-to-skin contact. If somebody has HSV-2, and especially if they are experiencing an outbreak, it is possible to transfer HSV-2 from the genitals to the mouth.

The only way to know for sure what's going on with you is to get tested. As a rule of thumb, it's important to always practice safe sex, even if the person you're with tells you they have no STDs. 

A lot of STDs have no symptoms for some people. They may not even be aware of the fact that they are infected.


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