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Is it required for me to test for type 1 HSV infection for herpes?

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Dear doctor,I am a 22 years old female. I was sexually active with my boyfriend these days. Recently he was diagnosed with Herpes type 1 infected in his genital area. It heard that this is a very common type of virus infection, infecting genital areas. Also, from some internet sources, I read that a lot many people have this disease. My question is, whether I should be concerned about this infection, as he has this virus? How lethal is this infection? After infecting, he has got cold sores. Please suggest me some methods of cold sore treatment. He also started getting fever blisters. Should I go for a herpes test, as he got it? What are the possibilities of getting infected from having sex with an infected person? Should I worry about it?

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Category: Family Physician-GP
 32 Doctors Online

Thank you for the question. Genital herpes is classified into two, according to the viruses which cause the infection. They are type 1 and type 2. Herpes Simplex Virus type 2 is what causes genital herpes and HSV type 1 causes sores in mouth and facial areas. From the information you provided, I suspect that your partner is infected with type 1, which is usually spread through oral sex, saliva etc. It causes fever blister and cold sore in infected people. Causing genital infections is less common and is usually caused by sexual practices like cunningulus. Both sores caused by these viruses look alike. They can easily be spread from one person to another through sexual contact. This can be spread through skin to skin contact and hence, condoms are not so effective in preventing spread of the infection. Moreover, the infection can stay dormant in human body for years without making any visible outbreak. Even at this dormant stage, it can spread the infection to those who comes in sexual contact with the infected people. This makes the virus very much vulnerable to spreading. But the chance of spread increases with visible sores and cold sores. Infected individuals will stay dangerous in spreading the infection, even if they receive the best of treatments. There are no effective treatment options found yet to eradicate the infection fully. As you said, herpes is one of the most common sexually transmitted infection and having it is a very awkward situation. No one wants to get infected with it, being an STD. It is always better to abstain from sex with infected persons to avoid getting infected. But there is a possibility that you might have got infected, if you were sexually active with your boyfriend for a long time. Anyway, it is better to take a test yourself to rule out a chance of infection. Treatment for herpes and cold sores are done symptomatically according to the severity of infection. Hope my answer helps. Take care.

Dr. John Monheit
Category: Family Physician-GP
Residecny: North Colorado Family Medicine
Medical School: The Chicago Medical Center
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