Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"If I have HSV 2 orally (cold sore in corner of my mouth). Can I give it to someone through sex? "

ZocdocAnswersIf I have HSV 2 orally (cold sore in corner of my mouth). Can I give it to someone through sex?


I started getting cold sores about 6 years ago and the Dr. told me it was just cold sores however I have been tested and they told me its HSV 2- apparently thats genital herpes, but I dont have sores there. Can I give it to someone through sex or just kissing someone when I have an outbreak


Yes, and I recommend that you speak with your doctor. HSV-1 and HSV-2 can both be transmitted through oral and genital contact, and can be transmitted from one region of the body to the other. That being said, HSV-2 oral infections are somewhat rare and have less shedding, making their rate of transmission lower. It would be interesting to test and determine if you are also infected with HSV-1, as about 40% of those infected with HSV-2 will also have an HSV-2 infection. If that is the case for you, then that would explain why you are having the cold sores in your mouth that are most commonly associated with HSV-1. That being said, both types can result in sores and outbreaks in either region of the body. There are things that can be done to decrease the rate of transmission, with barrier methods such as condoms being somewhat effective. The effective rate of transmission decreases even further with anti-viral therapy, and intercourse and direct contact should be avoided during outbreaks. Your doctor will be able to help you determine what the risk of transmission will be for you, and how best to avoid it. Please speak with your doctor about these questions.

Zocdoc Answers 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 (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.