Is it true that we can retransmit herpes to each other?

Dear Dr. Erica:

I am 19 and contracted genital herpes I and II from my boyfriend at the same time that I lost my virginity. He had no idea that he had it, and had his first outbreak at the same time as me. It was about 3 months ago that I had my first outbreak and have not had one since. My boyfriend and I are currently working on our relationship because he feels horrible about giving it to me and says he feels like he has ruined my life. I have told him that I am not angry at him nor do I blame him because he had no idea about the possibility that he could have passed it to me because he never had any symptoms. We have never had oral sex but still want to explore the possibility of it. Since we both already have genital herpes does this mean that we can get oral herpes and cold sores by giving each other oral sex or will we already get the cold sores because we already have the virus? Someone also told me that we can re-transmit it to each other. We have had unprotected sex since our first outbreaks because I figured that once we had it, we had it, and there was no reason to worry about transmission. Is it true that we can re-transmit? Curious

Dr. Erica’s response:

Dear Curious:
Let me begin by restating two well-known statements: The only thing to fear is fear itself. A coward dies a thousand deaths, a hero only one. Sooner or later, because of unpleasant symptoms or your concern about infecting potential sexual partners, you will have to face your fear, visit a medical doctor, and get yourself tested. If your test results are negative and you are told you do not have herpes, think of the wasted time and emotion you have spent on worrying. And, if your tests are positive and you are told you do, in fact, have herpes, then you can begin the process of treatment, education and limitation of either infecting another or reinfecting yourself. You are certainly not alone. Statistics indicate that about one in every five adults has been infected with the herpes virus. What you do with that information is up to you. You can continue to live a productive, social and sexually active life, taking additional precautions, or you can wallow in your own fears, isolate yourself, and continue to live in a state of anxious denial. [


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