Q. Can a woman with HSV-2 be able to spread the infection to a man without HSV-2 during sex?

Answered by
Dr. Ankush Jairath
and medically reviewed by Dr. K Shobana
This is a premium question & answer published on Nov 26, 2021 and last reviewed on: Nov 10, 2022

Hello doctor,

I have some questions about herpes. If a woman having HSV-2 who does not have a flare-up or showing any signs of HSV-2 currently has unprotected vaginal intercourse with a man who does not have HSV-2 or any other STD, then what are the chance of her infecting him with HSV-2? What are the chances of her infecting him with HSV-2 if they used a condom during sex? Is it possible to transmit HSV-1 from kissing? I do not have herpes symptoms currently.

Kindly answer these questions.

Thank you.



Welcome to

I hope you are doing well. Coming back to your query.

If a woman who has HSV-2 (herpes simplex virus-type 2), is not currently having a flare-up or showing any signs of having HSV-2, has unprotected vaginal intercourse with a man who does not have HSV-2 or any other STD (sexually transmitted disease), what are the chances of her infecting him with HSV-2?

There are varied chances of transmission, which depend upon the presence of any blood contact or duration of exposure. The use of condoms markedly reduces the chances of transmission, but it can never become zero even if you use double protection.

What are the chances of her infecting him with HSV-2 if they have sex with a condom?

Condoms reduced the per-act risk of (HSV-2) transmission by 65 % from women to men and 96 % from men to women (these figures are average). So even if you use condoms, the risk reduces but remains still.

Is it possible to transmit HSV-1 from kissing?

Yes, you can contract oral herpes from kissing, but developing genital herpes this way is highly unlikely. Oral herpes (HSV-1) is usually transmitted by kissing, and genital herpes (HSV-2) is most often spread through vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

I hope this helps.

Thanks and regards.

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