Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Myth #3 Herpes Algebra
Same cookie, different crumble...Myth #3 is that you can only spread herpes when there are visible blisters. WRONG!
The herpes virus can be spread whether or not there are any visible sores. So, if parter A gets cold sores (meaning the blisters from herpes that occur outside the mouth, usually on or near the lips), he or she can pass this infection to partner B by kissing or oral-genital contact. Partner B could then develop oral or genital herpes, depending upon the site of contact. If, however, partner B already gets cold sores, then he/she will not get a new case of herpes (assuming both parties have herpes simplex type 1, which can be confirmed with a blood test.)
Confused? Let me say it differently. Once you have one type of herpes, you will not get that same type of herpes in a different spot on your body. You may, however, get a different type. The common example is that if you have cold sores, which are most often herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 1, you are still susceptible to getting genital herpes from HSV type 2.
The important point here, though, is that although herpes is thought to be most contagious immediately before, during and after blisters are present, the LACK of blisters (in between outbreaks) does NOT equal NOT contagious. A great reference book for herpes if you have further questions is: The Good News about the Bad News by Terri Warren.
BOTTOM LINE: Herpes is ALWAYS potentially contagious, whether or not you see blisters.
PS. Jump forward to the $7 Million Herpes Case!