Herpes can spread easily through saliva so the short answer to the question of the possibility getting herpes from kissing is yes you can. The risk of catching herpes is increased even more if the person with herpes has blisters on the mouth and lips. In the last instance fluid from the blisters can transmit the virus.
How is Herpes Spread?
In case you’re wondering herpes can spread in other ways. Apart from kissing the herpes simplex virus can spread through skin to skin contact and through vaginal, anal and oral intercourse. Herpes mainly resides in those moist areas of the body such as the lips, mouth, throat, vulva, vagina and eyes. The virus also exists in the blood so it can be transmitted through the blood of an infected person.
A lot of people mistakenly assume that performing oral sex is relatively safe if one partner has herpes. The truth is that the virus can spread from the mouth to the genitals if the partner has an obvious cold sore and performs oral sex. The reverse is true performing oral sex on someone who has genital herpes can cause the virus to be transmitted. It is possible to catch the virus from someone who has herpes who does not have visible sores since the virus could be present on the skin’s surface in a process known as shedding. It only becomes safe once the area has completely healed and the skin has returned to normal.
Is There A Specific Time When The Risk Of Spreading Herpes Is Highest?
The risk of spreading of herpes is highest when there is a sore present. That does not mean that it is not possible to spread herpes when a sore is absent. Just before a sore appears prodromal symptoms such as itching, tingling and awareness that something is about to happen in that area makes themselves known. These symptoms are a way of alerting that the virus is already on the skin’s surface. The moment these symptoms appear the risk of spreading the virus goes up and any type of sexual contact during this time could result in transmission of the disease. The risks are said to be in the region of 75% when the person is shedding the virus.
When Is It Safe For People With Herpes To Kiss?
The herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) leads to the formation of cold sores or blisters around the mouth. These sores are extremely contagious so it is not a good idea to indulge in kissing with the person with the virus when the sores are present. The best course of action is to wait until the sore is completely gone before kissing takes place.
It is important to understand that even when the sores are not visible the virus is still present in the body. It always will be so the risks do not completely go away when the sores are absent. The bottom line however is that you should avoid kissing when there are visible sores or even when there is sensitivity or irritation on the surface of the skin. Although the risks are significantly low when the sores are absent it is not completely removed.
Genital Herpes and Kissing
The next obvious question when it comes to herpes and kissing is whether genital herpes can be transmitted by kissing. Genital herpes of itself cannot be transmitted by kissing since this is usually spread only by skin to skin contact such as when sexual intercourse occurs. People with genital herpes however can be prone to herpes simplex where cold sores can develop around the mouth and lips and that is when kissing becomes risky.
In such an instance the same rules discussed above applies. Do not engage in kissing when a cold sore is visibly present or when there is minor irritation to the skin. You must also ensure that there is no kissing below the waistline with a person that has genital herpes with outbreaks.