Infected and Contagious

Dear Dr. Rob:

My wife was diagnosed with genital herpes several years ago. So far we have been very careful about using protection during outbreaks. I’ve been tested and the results stated that there is a presence of antibodies from HSV-1 (Oral I believe). I do not understand what this means, am I infected and/or contagious? If I share cigars or drinks with other people do I run the risk of infecting them? Thanks for this wonderful forum!

Dr. Rob’s Response:

Dear Confused:

The fact that you have HSV1 and not HSV2, I presume although you don’t state this, suggests that your genital herpes may be Type 1. If you are not positive for Herpes Type 2 by the Herpes Select Test, then this is restricted to Herpes Type 1 and this should be the same for your wife. You can only pass Herpes Type 1 through lesions that are present¬†and it has to be into mucosal tissue such as inside the mouth or in the vaginal area where there is a break in the skin. Casual sharing of a cigar,¬†when you don’t have a lesion if the other gentleman or woman doesn’t have a sore or a break in the skin inside the mouth, would be unlikely to transmit it. On the other hand to be completely safe, it would be worthwhile not to share.


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