Cold Sores and Genital Herpes.

If a person with a cold-sore on his/her lip was to engage in oral sex with another, would the cold-sore be transmitted to the genitals and manifest as herpes? I know cold-sores are of the Herpes Simplex virus, but I wondered whether they are the same as the genital variety.
Any knowledge here folks?

They are two slightly different viruses, but it is possible to transfer them as you suggest.

There’re two major strains, one associated primarily with the lip, the other near the hip. I’ve been lead to believe that they’re near interchangeable in their effect on humans (and that almost all of us have one or the other).

But IANAD, so I anxiously await the arrival of the informed.

So you can give a person a HSV Type 1 cold sore on his/her genitals if you perform oral sex while you have a HSV Type 1 cold sore in your mouth, but you usually can’t give a person Type 2 herpes from a Type 1 cold sore. You usually get Type 2 herpes from having sex with someone who already has Type 2 herpes lesions on his/her genitals.

“Usually.” :wink:
More info.

Cold sores.

Which is here.

So generally speaking, it looks like you should take a pass on the oral sex if you have cold sores in your mouth.

Now you tell me.:rolleyes:

Yes, boys and girls, it works that way.:eek:

I had a couple as patients years ago, who were ready to divorce because the woman turned up with genital herpes, and accused her husband of being unfaithful, getting them, and passing them on to her. He in turn accused her of having an affair and picking them up there.

In the midst of an acute outbreak, I took a viral culture, and lo: they turned up to be HSV-1. Now that’s no guarantee that he did give them to her orally, but it certainly bolstered the possibility.

Pardon my ignorance, but is that all that genital herpes is? An occasional cold-sore in your groin area?

Don’t get me wrong - I’d rather not have it, but it doesn’t sound like that horrible a thing.

lucwarm, you’re right, unless you’re immunocompromised, or about to have a baby. If a newborn contracts herpes during it’s passage down the birth canal, it can cause a fatal neurologic herpetic infection. If you’re immunocompromised you can get severe sores all over the most tender areas, including the eyes, the inside of the nose, even the ear canals, which become infected with other opportunistic diseases. Debilitating, and possibly fatal.

But if you’re otherwise healthy, it’s mainly painful, embarrassing, and transmissible. Not much damage when compared to HIV and Hepatitis C, but there you are.

Painful? I’ve never known a cold-sore to be painful. It’s just like having a pimple for a couple days. Is genital herpes different in this respect?

You’ve got to be kidding. Cold sores I’ve had in the past have been very painful. Luckily, I don’t get them so much anymore, and when I do I apply Curasore, which works very well, thank you.

can you get it from a towel someone with herpes used?

Don’t forget that transmission goes both ways. I had a patient come in with bad herpes on his face. After questioning him I found he had been having oral sex with his girlfriend who had a history of “recurring yeast infections”. He of course had HSV 2. (Recurring yeast infections to me ALWAYS make me suspicious for herpes unless they have been cultured. In my experience I find many women assume any gynecologic infection is a yeast infection and if it goes away in a week with treatment they assume they are right-even though herpes goes away in a week usually anyway.)

As barb said, yes HSV is, to the vast majority of people, very painful. A typical description “it feels like someone is tattooing my inner lip with a red hot poker whenever I eat or drink”. If your lesions don’t hurt, you’re either very lucky, or they’re not HSV lesions.

For what it’s worth, my 1 1/2 year old daughter had a similar cold-sore on her thumb, which the doctor said had probably been communicated from her mouth to her thumb from sucking on her thumb. She wasn’t in any pain at all (believe me, she would have let us know!)

So perhaps there’s some super-mild herpes-like virus running around out there.

It isn’t common for HSV to live on a thumb. Not impossible, but not common. They prefer mucus tissue like lips, gums, tongues, eyes, nasal mucosa, and genital/rectal areas.

Glad it doesn’t bother her.