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Definition of an STD relating to HSV 2
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Definition of an STD relating to HSV 2

Hi All

I'm curious if someone can help me understand a point
on oral HSV 2.

Dr. Handsfield had written a subscriber telling him that
no one ever caught an STD from kissing. I read that
and figured that it meant, as I'm sure it would for most
people, that you can't catch HSV 2 oral herpes.

I have a lady friend that I know has Genital HSV 2, and most
likely given her proclivites, has oral HSV 2 as well.

I had read several comments on line about oral HSV 2 transmission
and was satisfied that I could, in casual passing, give her an affectionate
kiss with no risk of catching an "STD".

It's only now, with the presentation of soreness in my mouth and lips, that
I've gone back and re-read everything written that I realize that
for some reason, the experts don't consider oral HSV 2 acquisition from kissing
as equal to catching an STD.

This boggles (quite belatedly) my mind!

If by a slim chance I am indeed infected, and regardles of recurrence and shedding rates, it is conceivable
that someday I just might have oral sex with someone and could quite
possibly infect them genitally with HSV 2.

Given that, the question is: Why isn't oral HSV 2 infection considered an STD?

Lastly, has anyone ever been diagnosed, according to any records, with catching oral
HSV 2 from kissing alone?

Thanks you for your time in answering.


Tags: HSV, 2, Oral, sex, definitions
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8 Comments Post a Comment
652407 tn?1300740799
any questions questioning one of the doctors post should be directed to that doctor so that he can explain. We can't speak for Doctor Handsfield
Avatar m tn
Hi there...

Not so much directed to the one of the Doctors, but a general
question as to the interpretation of Meidcal speak. I can
apprecaite the medical necessity to speak clinically and directly
to an issue, but I think a lot of people like me tend to think in
general terms and would think that "ok, so you can't get an STD from
kissing" and go out blithely kissing those we know to be at risk genitally....
like I've foolishly done....and think that there are no consequences.

So, just a general:  why is oral HSV 2 not considered an STD if
it can indeed be passed on to someone's genitals during oral sex
making the infected person now having an STD because they now
have genital herpes?


Are there any documented cases of anyone acquiring oral HSV 2
by kissing alone?

I realize I'll need to wait three months to go have a definitive igg test myself....
but would like to know my odds via documented history.

Many thanks

652407 tn?1300740799
HSV one or two can be aquired if one has an active infection. Meaning if they are shedding or have an active blister.

Again we can't advise what the doctor was referring to but HSV whether orally or genitally is an STD and can be transmitted to others during an active out break. . Perhaps what the doctor was speaking of is just as your question ask... " Are there any documented cases of anyone acquiring oral HSV2 by kissing alone?" perhaps Dr. handsfeild is indicating there are no documented cases of any STDs being transmitted through kissing alone... BUT again I don't know.

And I do not know of any studies but I'm sure Grace will be posting on here when she gets on and can advise if she knows of any.

Kissing is known to not have any risk because it is a low low risk for most of all STDs, yes HSV would be a risk if she were having an outbreak at the time as HSV is a skin to skin transmition.

In general we just don't like trying to clear up something posted by a doctor or expert because we don't know what they were saying in their post.
Avatar m tn

Many thanks for your patience and taking the time
to respond.

Ok, then perhaps if Grace could be so kind as to maybe
cite a study, then it might put my hyper-vigilant mind at
ease and also answer some questions for some other folks
on here as well.

God knows I don't want to be the first and only documented
oral hsv2 person positive from kissing, so I'm hoping inability to cite
any documented instances of it will calm me.

That, and I've got to stick to handshakes from now on......


Avatar m tn
I suppose that the reason they don't consider oral herpes to be an STD is that the majority of people don't become infected by sex.  I mean, you could give somebody the flu during sex but it wouldnt' be considered a STD.  
101028 tn?1419606604
first off it's doubtful your friend has hsv 2 orally no matter what her "proclivities" as you call them. Not many folks have hsv2 orally  no matter who or what they are doing. Those who do have hsv2 orally rarely shed the virus ( about 3-4 days total out of the year ) so the odds of them transmitting hsv2 fro their oral area to someone else's oral area are incredibly low in general.

have you ever been seen yet for your own oral issues? if so, what testing have you had done so far? redness and soreness on the lips is usually just plain ole chapped lips.

Avatar m tn
Hi Grace

Thanks for your reponse.

First, my symptoms are relatively mild compared to what I've
read about a classical presentation of a primary oral infection, so
I'm inclined to finally dismiss them as related to a Herpes infection
and ascribe them to an over active imagination

I understand the rate of incidence of oral hsv 2 is low, but you'd be surprised
as to how many people have reported into sites claiming to have just
such an infection. It almost makes you wonder just how much of it has
gone unreported and maybe the figures are much much higher if just
a small sampling of people with access to the internet can claim to have it.

I see my friend about once a week and tho we were once intimate, we have not
been since she tested positive for hsv 2. So we kept it to a passionate kiss
on meeting and kept the boundries pretty strict. So if I'm seeing her once
a week, every week for a year, then there's a fairly good chance we kissed
during that 3-4 days total out of a year....that's what has me.

However, that's what seems to be the rub. If one tests positive for hsv 2, then
it's supposed that it's a genital infection and therefore now considered
and STD.

But what if it's an oral hsv 2 infection soley?

Someone, somewhere, has it and yet they think they have an STD
when the clinical definition says they don't.......but how on earth
can they know if some people never have outbreaks, genitally or orally?!

So just something that seemed to be a huge contradiction. I was just thinking
that the medical society should either change the classification and take it out of the list of STD's, or make any HSV 2 diagnosis regardless of known site an STD.

That way, if someone not entirely comprehending what "no std has ever been
transmitted by kissing" means, then they'll have an idea of if that particular infection
(regardless of site) can be considered an STD - or - has been reclassified and could be de-stagmatized and is not considered an STD.

Please don't take this message as challenging medhelp's wisdom, it's
just meant to clear up stupid little confusion in my (and I'm sure there's got to
be others) mind.

By the way, are there any oral to oral hsv 2 infections documented?

Grace, thanks a lot for everything and take care!
101028 tn?1419606604
if you contract hsv2 orally from performing oral sex on someone then indeed it is considered a std. we don't count hsv1 orally as a std because it's transmitted through non-sexual means to the oral area far, far more than it would be from genitals to oral area.  make sense?  oral sex is a sexual act.  kissing granny isn't a sexual act.

most folks on the various boards only assume that they have hsv2 orally.  when questioned thoroughly they really don't. The stats I use for hsv2 orally come from various studies - it's not that they are "missing" true rates of infection.  In the 14 years I've been on the online boards now, I still think it's been less than 6 posters total on all the various boards I post on who have had confirmed hsv2 oral infections.  

hardly anyone has just hsv 2 orally. almost all folks who have hsv2 orally also have it genitally. if folks are contracting hsv2 orally from kissing, the numbers are so minute that we have no way of accurately documenting them.  
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