Q. I kissed my partner before he had a cold sore. What is my risk of outbreak?

Answered by
Dr. Ashwini V Swamy
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 31, 2018

Hello doctor,

My partner has a cold sore. I kissed him before it actually looked like one. I already carry HSV1, but I have never had a cold sore. Did I put myself at risk?

#

Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

Herpes simplex virus (HSV) if once acquired stays lifelong. When it is dormant it does not produce cold sores. When there are risk factors like stress in any form, physical stress, mental/emotional stress, recent illness, surgeries, prolonged sun exposure can trigger cold sores.

When there are active sores with blisters and fluid in it, the person who does not have HSV can contract the virus and produce cold sores. Since you already carry HSV, you can have a cold sore with above-mentioned risk factors and it may not increase the chance of getting a cold sore as there were no blisters at the time of contact (kiss).

Hope this answers your query.

For more information consult a venereologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/venereologist

Thank you doctor,

When I kissed him, it had a red mark. So, it did not really look like a sore yet. Since I already have HSV1, will this increase my chances of an outbreak?

#

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

I have to mention that your second query is a bit contradictory to your first and I had to read through multiple times to understand the stage of the sore from your partner.

Here is some additional information:

If the contact (kiss) was prior to the onset of blisters (that is, before the actual sores developed), the chance of you getting the sores from this contact does not increase. HSV 1 is contagious during active blister stage when there is contact with blister fluid (unlike HSV 2 which can produce sores with or without active blisters). If there were red marks after the full blown blisters (as I understand from your update) when it is still healing then it carries the risk of producing sores on contact. The incubation period ranges from four to seven days, meaning if there is any contact with HSV virus, it will take four to seven days to produce cold sores.

Observe for tingling/burning sensation around your mouth which is the initial symptom of cold sores. If you feel such a sensation, you will have to meet your dermatologist for antiviral medication which can be prescribed upon confirming the diagnosis with relevant tests.

If there are no such symptoms after seven days, it is highly unlikely that you have contracted HSV from your partner. I do understand that you already carry HSV 1 and I again clarify that the chance of you getting HSV is independent to that episode and your pre-existing HSV does not add up to the chances of you getting cold sores. In other words, you do carry the risk of getting cold sores and you can watch out for the symptoms that I have outlined above but you do not have to worry the chances to be higher than any other person because of your pre-existing HSV1.

For more information consult a venereologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/venereologist


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