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Q. What are the odds of contracting herpes sexually?

Answered by
Dr. Neha Sud
and medically reviewed by Dr. Sneha Kannan
This is a premium question & answer published on Oct 22, 2020 and last reviewed on: Oct 31, 2020

A girl I know who I may become sexually active has just told me she has herpes. She has had it for 10 years and takes Valtrex everyday and says she hasn't had an outbreak for a very long time. Years. I wanna know the risks and the odds of me contracting this if I decide to become sexually active with her. I am bound to get this the longer r relationship lasts right? Also I get cold sores myself so I was wondering if that effects anything? I am a male btw.

Dr. Neha Sud

Dermatology Venereology


It depends on what type of Herpes does your partner have, genital or the on the lips, as the virus types that cause these are different. This means if you partner has genital herpes and you have oral herpes it does not make you immune to getting genital herpes.

So you need to be careful: use a barrier contraceptive. And avoid any sexual contact when there are active lesions on the genitalia and also when you have active lesions on the lips avoid kissing/ sharing utensils esp. spoons, cups and glasses.

There are episodes of asymptomatic shedding in between which no one can predict and may have just mild symptoms like burning while passing urine or itching. So answering you last query yes you can pick up the infection even when taking the above precautions but the chances definitely reduce when you take care.

Hope this helps

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