Can one develop multiple cold sores ?

Dear Dr. Tom:

Can one develop multiple cold sores or multiple genital infection sites through continued contact or self infection? I can see risking a single infection to build a relationship with a wonderful woman, but a lifetime of caution and spreading infections seems daunting. Not kissing/whatever for a couple weeks a year is managable, but if in 30 years it progresses to months, I’d be sad.

On a Brink

Dr. Tom’s Response:

Dear On a Brink:

Herpetic infections can spread from one portion of the body to another, for example, from an active genital lesion to the eyes by one’s own hands. Likewise, the herpes virus capable of causing cold sores can be passed to a non-infected person by kissing. This is why loving relatives are sometimes asked not to kiss infants.

Withholding intimacy from one’s loved partner is, as you said, ‘manageable’, during the duration of an outbreak by one partner or the other. I know of no evidence to suggest that each intimate contact between partners, where one or both are infected, carries with it the threat of compounding the extent of lesions, and thereby, the length of privation.


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