Topics: Herpes Facts - Herpes Virus
– 60-80% of the general population already have HSV-1 orally. Most people don’t realize that cold sores are the same thing as herpes (HSV-1). Most people don’t realize that it’s possible to spread HSV-1 to another person via oral sex, even when they don’t have a visible cold sore. A lot of people think oral sex is safe, and don’t use any sort of protection. But anytime you are swapping body fluids, there is a risk of spreading something.
– The only way to know for sure how often a person is shedding the virus without symptoms is to take part in a herpes research study where your skin is swabbed on a daily basis and then tested for evidence of the virus. In one study, the subjects tested positive for the virus on up to 10% of days, even when they had no symptoms. But even in that study, each person was different. Some people shed more often, and some people shed less often. So each person is different.
– The good news is that by using Suppressive Therapy – taking daily Acyclovir or Valacyclovir – you can dramatically reduce the number of days of asymptomatic shedding. In one research study, patients who took suppressive therapy shed the herpes virus only a fraction of a percent of the time. So combining suppressive therapy with proper and regular use of condoms is a very effective way to reduce your risk of spreading the virus to someone else genitally. If you use dental dams, then oral sex is safer too.