ZocdocAnswersHow long of contact is needed to transfer the Herpes virus?

Question

How long of contact is needed to transfer the Herpes virus?

I was taking anti-viral medicine putting on anti-viral cream, but still had a slight outbreak (reduced because of the medicines). I had sex and used a condom and it ripped slightly. I immediately pulled out and put a new condom on (less than a second). So, to my question, how long of contact is needed to transfer the virus?

Answer

Herpes simplex virus type 2 - commonly referred to as Herpes - is a virus that can be transferred through sexual contact. Once a person contracts herpes, they often have periods in which the virus is latent that are punctuated by intermittent outbreaks despite anti-viral treatment. If a person has an active infection with sores, it increases the chance that the virus can be transmitted during sexual contact. You should talk with a physician about management of your herpes virus and encourage your sexual partner to see a doctor to discuss testing for the virus as well. While longer duration of contact and a larger number of sores present do increase the chance that your partner can contract the virus, it is possible to spread HSV-2 even when sores are not present or when protection is used. Short duration of contact does not protect against spreading the virus. Though it sounds like you took precautionary measures to protect your partner, it is possible he or she was exposed to the virus, especially if you had an outbreak at the time of intercourse. Symptoms of the virus in your partner would be noted as a blister that turned into a painful sore in the area of the genitals. It is not possible to tell if your partner contracted the virus without being evaluated by a physician. I strongly advise your partner to see a doctor, either a primary care physician or a gynecologist, who can guide them about the appropriate testing for the virus, advise on which symptoms to watch for, and prescribe any treatment needed.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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