HSV-1 Genital Herpes

Dear Dr. Rob:

I was wondering if it is possible to catch HSV 1 genital herpes from a person who had a cold sore that has been healed for at least 2 weeks. This occurred about a month ago and I have not had any symptoms of HSV 1 infection in my genital area but, I don’t know if this is because I have been searching so hard for them. I have found very small bumps in random spots along my penis. They don’t bother me and they may have been there a while and I am just now noticing. Anyway, if I have HSV 1 genitally and my girlfriend had the cold sore that gave it to me, is it possible for me to infect her with HSV 1 orally? Or is it the same thing? What are some things I should look for? Should I worry?

Dr. Rob’s Response:

Dear Poster Who Asks about a Cold Sore:

Your concern is admirable, but I do not believe that repeated evaluation is going to give you the answer you need. I would strongly suggest the Herpes Select Test and if you are HSV1 positive, as is she, then you have the virus and she has the virus, and it is the same virus, so that you are protected. On the other hand, if you are discordant, meaning you don’t have HSV1, or have HSV2 and she has HSV1, then protected sex is of the utmost importance.     


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