Patient: My boyfriend performed oral sex on me Friday evening. Sunday evening he started getting a cold sore. It looked like a small bump. He said it was painful, Monday it was a full cold sore, 3 of them around the same area as the first bump we noticed. He didnt notice or complain of any pain before Sunday evening. I’m afraid I have been exposed to the herpes virus on my vagina and I am Extremely worried. There was 2 days (Friday evening-Sunday evening) between the time we had oral sex and the time we noticed a cold sore starting, should I be worried or am I likely in the safe zone? How long before a sore is visible is the virus contagious. I am getting conflicting info such as it is contagious once the person feels symptoms, or I was told that it is contagious 2-24 hours before symptoms are felt. Im scared. Did he perform oral sex during the time he was contagious? And if I am at risk of infection, what is that window of when sores should appear?
Symptoms: None yet
Doctor: HelloThanks for the query.The incubation period for a cold sore caused by a herpes virus is from 2 to 12 days. On an average it can develop in 3 to 4 days of an exposure to an infected person . In some people this duration or interval of developing sores may be more prolonged. Hence in your case we cannot exactly say if you are infected or he was prior exposed to get this infection now.However, if you get symptoms like cold, sneezing, fever, body aches it may mean that you may be at risk of developing a cold sore soon.However, there is nothing to panic. Would suggest you to visit a doctor soon amd get yourself examined. In case you develop a sore you will need to start antivirals to control the infection. Avoid intercourse and oral sex until you are sure that you are infected or getting treatment for the same. Also get your friend treated too.Hope this helps.Kindly opine with your treating doctor before considering this advice.Regards
Comments / Follow Ups
Patient: I realize that if I did contract the virus from him that the point where I develop sores can vary. He has gotten them his whole life. This is the first one in 2 years.
What I am mainly concerned about is if he was contagious at the time he performed oral sex on me. There was no visible or physical symptoms at the time of oral sex, Not until 2 days later. But how long before visual/physical symptoms is a cold sore contagious? Was he contagious at the time of oral sex, or is it unlikely that he was contagious at that point? I guess Im trying to determine what my actual risk of exposure is here.
There is always as risk of transmission if the other person is harbouring the virus. Fever, rashes and prodromal symptoms are just indicators of acute illness or infectivity. However, even if asymptomatic he can transmit the infection to you.