Can HSV-2 be transmitted through oral sex?
My partner has HSV-2. We haven't had sex yet, but we WILL be using protection. However, I want to perform oral sex with her, but am afriad of contracting the virus. From what I have read, HSV-2 can only be transmitted through intercourse. Is that 100% true? Or can I still contract it if I were to perform oral on her?
As you know, there are two main types of Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) - types 1 and 2. In order to discuss different sexual practices, the risks associated with them, and to learn more about HSV, I would recommend scheduling an appointment to see your doctor. You are right that it is extremely uncommon to acquire HSV-2 from performing oral sex with a partner who has genital HSV-2. This is for two reasons. One, HSV-2 has a preference for residing in the nerve roots that lie at the base of your spine, whereas HSV-1 generally lives in the nerve roots closer to your head. This is why with an HSV-1 infection, people get cold sores on their lips, and with an HSV-2 infection, they get the sores in their genital area. Two, most people have already acquired HSV-1 in their lives, and this actually protects those people from becoming infected with HSV-2, as the immune system makes antibodies against both HSV-1 and 2 once infected with either of these viruses. If you have HSV-1 (which you may have even if you have never had a cold sore), then you have this immune protection against HSV-2. Getting back to your question, however, although there is very very close to a 100% chance that you will not acquire HSV-2 from engaging in oral sex with your partner who has the virus, it is possible. Again, I would recommend discussing the exact risks more thoroughly with your doctor.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.
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