A very common question about herpes is whether or not it can be spread through oral sex. In short, yes, it can. Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be spread through oral sex. When oral sex is practiced, the virus can spread from an infected person’s genitalia through an uninfected person’s nose, ears, lips and mouth. Likewise, someone that is infected with HSV-2, can spread it to another person’s mouth, although this is more rare, but certainly does happen.
Herpes simplex 1, generally favors the mouth region, while Herpes simplex 2, favors the genital and rectum areas. Although, they can be spread through oral sex, and it’s not unheard of that someone has HSV1 in the genital region and HSV2 in around the mouth.
Since herpes can be spread, even when sores aren’t present, it’s particularly important that you’re careful when having oral sex with someone who has HSV1 or HSV2. Although condoms aren’t 100%, as they often times don’t cover the entire area, they’re much more effective when the alternative is nothing at all.
Oftentimes, herpes is spread because no outbreak exists, or the individual thinks the outbreak is completely healed. Sometimes, weeks after an outbreak, herpes is still present in the shedding phase. One of the dangers of oral sex is that protection generally is not used. With sex, especially those who know HSV positive, condoms and other protective measures are taken as to not spread the disease. However, condoms are generally seen as something used only for sex, and not for oral sex. With oral sex, protection is generally not used making people extremely vulnerable to herpes when their partner is infected.
It’s important that if you know your partner is HSV positive, that you use condoms or dental dams for oral sex, even when an outbreak does not exist. By not doing so, your risk of contracting herpes increases exponentially.