Question :

Have I given my boyfriend herpes?

Dear Ask The Doctor:
Hello, I was about to have sex for the first time a few nights ago but I decided instead to give my boyfriend oral sex, I had that morning seen a blackhead on my lip that seemed ready to pop and tried to pop it but it scabbed over slghtly, my mother told me I had a cold sore the next day and I'm worried I may have given my boyfriend some form of herpes. I want to know if its possible for a blackhead to become a coldsore and if so, is it possible for me to have passed it onto my boyfriend? (we didn't use any contraception for that bit but he didn't ejaculate in my mouth either).


Answer :

Dear Patient: 
Herpes is caused by Herpes Simplex virus type 1 and type 2. Long before, HSV type 1 more commonly causes infections on the mouth (lips, pharynx, gums) while HSV type 2 usually causes genital herpes. However, in modern times, HSV type 1 and 2 can be harboured in either areas of the body due to creative sexual practices (e.g. fellatio and cunnilingus). This viral infection typically recurs on the same area since it stays on the nerve. Cold sore is the layman’s term for HSV 1 infection. A blackhead, by definition is a pimple. So coldsores and blackheads are 2 different entities; however, breaks on the skin (blackhead) make it easier for the virus to be transmitted. Male condoms are effective against HSV transmission. Whether or not he ejaculated in your mouth does not matter significantly.  If you are sure that what you had on your lip is only a blackhead, there’s no need to worry. If it was a cold sore, then you could have possibly given herpes to your boyfriend. The incubation period (time interval between exposure to disease and manifestation of signs and symptoms) of HSV infection is usually 3-7 days. If it really bothers you, both of you should be checked by a doctor and ask about the options for diagnosing and treating herpes.


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