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Can I get genital herpes on my mouth? Eeewww…

Herpes is a common sexually transmitted viral infection and many people have it. Globally, an estimated two-thirds of the population are infected with herpes simplex virus.

There are two types of herpes viruses, herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV 1) and herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV 2). Both of them could cause cold sores either around the mouth or around the genitals. Predominantly HSV 1 causes sores around the mouth, nose or the eyes commonly referred to as cold sores and HSV 2 around the genitals and commonly called genital herpes. While we may be concerned about which of these types are associated with cold sores, the virus itself seems least bothered which part of the body it could infect. Both of these types are simply the same virus with similar characteristics of infecting any part of the body and sometimes showing up as sores/lesions.

Having herpes does not mean that you are dirty. There are many people who are living perfectly normal lives with herpes. It’s all about managing and knowing more about it.

One of the steps in managing cold sores or herpes infection would mean to watch out for symptoms like itching, tingling or burning sensation around your lips or mouth. This could mean that you may be about to experience an outbreak of herpes. During this time its important to avoid kissing or having oral sex (cunnilingus, anilingus or fellatio).

Connecting with your health care provider will help you better manage and treat herpes.

Here is an useful resource about herpes.