What is the possible mode of transmission of genital herpes?

Q. Can genital herpes spread through a kiss?

Answered by
Dr. Basti Bharatesh Devendra
and medically reviewed by Dr. Infanteena Marily
This is a premium question & answer published on Mar 27, 2022

Hello doctor,

I had a mouth-to-mouth kiss with a female but no intercourse. The next day, she revealed that she had been diagnosed with genital herpes a year and a half ago. She is undergoing ayurvedic treatment and has been free of outbreaks for the past year. She has never had an outbreak in her mouth or lips. She used to get outbreaks around her vagina, anus, and buttocks. I have read many articles on the internet, and I am worried that genital herpes will spread through a kiss even if she does not have an outbreak. Please help.

Thank you.



Welcome to icliniq.com.

There are possibilities of transmission of the herpes simplex virus if there are active lesions in the area of contact. It is possible if she had any active lesion; otherwise, the chances are less. I suggest a few tests,

1) HSV-1 (herpes simplex virus) and HSV-2.

2) IgM (Immunoglobulin M) and IgG antibodies.

Wait for three months before any confirmation.

Thank you.

Hi doctor,

Thank you for the reply.

I am not able to understand it fully. We kissed mouth-to-mouth, but no intercourse occurred. When she had the outbreak a year and a half ago, she used to get outbreaks around her vagina, anus, and buttocks. She has not had any outbreaks in her mouth or lips. For the past one year since she began ayurvedic treatment, she has never had an outbreak on any part of her body. I want to clarify if there is a possibility of transmission of the disease even when there has been no outbreak for a year? Also, according to the WHO (World Health Organization) and the United States Medical Association, the incubation period for both oral and genital herpes is 2 to 12 days. So, why did you mention a three-month window period for getting a confirmatory test as like it is done for HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)?



Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Many of the HSV (herpes simplex virus) can be asymptomatic. If oral sex acts were performed, they can get auto-inoculated in different parts of the body though the chances are less. The chances are much lower if there were no active lesions at contact. Usually, HSV antibodies are formed two to six weeks, not later than three months, so after three months will help to rule out.

Thank you.

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