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Initial Infection
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Initial Infection

I had some questions on the basic behavior of the herpes virus.  I was wondering what exactly happens when the herpes virus comes into contact with the oral or genital area.  Does the virus sit on top of that skin for awhile or is it immediately 'absorbed' into that area, infecting it.  I'm wondering if when someone is infected are they immediately infectious, in other words does the virus immediately 'shed' or does it only become active and infectious during the first symptomatic or asymptomatic episode?

For example, if someone with oral herpes was to kiss an uninfected person who becomes exposed is that person now immediately infectious or is that not possible?  Is the newly infected person immediately at risk (within the next couple hours) for passing it to someone else or for passing that infection to their own genitals if their partner (who does not have herpes) touched their infected lips with fingers/mouth and then performed manual/oral sex?

Sorry if that's confusing..I guess I'm just wondering if, before antibodies are present, this is possible or if the herpes virus is immediately absorbed and not infectious until it is able to multiply and activate on the skin for the first time.
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101028_tn?1348750963
the virus does not sit on the skin and work its way into the body. it is forced into the body with the heat and friction of sexual contact.  if you are infected, you are contagious within 24-48 hours of being infected regardless of if you show obvious signs or not.  

grace
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Avatar_f_tn
So you are immediately contagious or contagious after about 24 hours?

Then that scenario is not impossible?  If someone is kissed by someone with a coldsore or asymptomatic shedding, and infected, and a few hours later their partner (uninfected) kisses them and then performs oral sex they could contract genital hsv-1?
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101028_tn?1348750963
correct.
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Avatar_f_tn
1. So you are immediately infectious to other people, but are you immediately infectious to yourself?  By kissing someone with a coldsore and then touching my lips and then genitals or a partner touching my lips and then genitals (with fingers or mouth) can that transfer the virus that was on my lips to my own genital area?  Or do people usually infect themselves during their primary episode..?

2. Do bilateral lesions almost definetely signify a primary outbreak?  
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101028_tn?1348750963
1.you are not going to give it to yourself that way.  

2.usually but not always.
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Avatar_f_tn
how can you be contagious if you arent shedding or have sores?  Are you saying you can be shedding within days of contracting it, even if you never get any shedding symptoms such as tingling etc, and never develop sores? Sounds like slim chance but I am ignorant here.
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101028_tn?1348750963
correct - you are shedding the virus even before obvious symptoms.  

grace
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you for your help, I'm sorry if I seem to be asking similar questions over again but this virus is very confusing =/.

1.So you begin to shed the virus within 24-48 hours after infection, but do you continually shed until symptoms appear or is it off & on?  Also, it probably would take several hours if not a whole day for this shedding to occur after infection?

2.In adults with normal immune systems, can hsv-1 be transferred by brief kisses or 'pecks' or does it usually take heavier kissing?  Especially when cold sores are not present?

3.Do you think it is likely for someone to have an asymptomatic case of genital hsv-1 or is that not common because if you contract hsv-1 genitally it means you had no antibodies to hsv in general?
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1174003_tn?1308164419
1. The virus lives on the skin and does it matter if it is on or off?  It's present and it's there.  The virus goes away once the skin has healed completely.  

2.  Pecks don't typically give enough for tranmission.

3.  HSV-1 genitally comes if you do not have HSV-1 antibodies already present.  If you have HSV already it will not go to a new site typically since your body has an immune response to fight it.  HSV-1 genitally doesn't have a lot of reoccurances typically so yes there are asymptomatic cases because of that reason.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you!  For the first question, I was wondering about after initial infection.  Grace said you begin to shed within 24-48 hours after infection even before symptoms and I was wondering if you could be shedding within an hour or two of being infected or if that is probably not likely, I'm assuming it would probably take many hours or a whole day to begin this since the virus takes time to infect & then activate?  I'm just very worried about if I may have infected someone after my own infection..
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Avatar_f_tn
To add to that, I meant I worried if i could have infected someone immediately after (about an hour after) my own infection because I did not know.  I'm hoping it is not likely to shed the virus this soon after infection..

This is what happened: My best friend (a gay guy-which doesn't seem relevant but I wasn't cheating =) ) has a tendency to kiss his friends, and that night he kissed me firmly on my mouth a few times (just pecks goofing around) no cold sores present nor have i ever seen him have one.  About an hour later I was with my partner & I performed oral sex on him with no idea about hsv, a couple hours after that we had *protected* vaginal intercourse.  A few (4-5?) days later I developed genital hsv-1 my partner had no symptoms. My blood test was negative and I know there is a chance it was wrong but i'm very confident this was a primary episode although maybe not from this ecounter.

Is it possible that I contracted oral hsv-1 from the tap kisses, passed it genitally to my partner through oral sex, then he passed it genitally to me through protected intercourse?? I know this must be very unlikely as my friend would have to be shedding, i would have to be shedding an hour after initial infection, and my partner would have to be shedding within a couple hours of infection & have to have a completely asymptomatic case of genital hsv-1--he had no symptoms at all.

I am just freaked out that i may have caused all of this & I don't think I could forgive myself.  i have no idea how this happened!
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101028_tn?1348750963
has your regular partner been tested to know his own status?

no you didn't give it to your regular partner genitally and they gave it back to your genitally in the manner to which you described.

grace
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Avatar_f_tn
Okay, good, I was worried that that was what happened because it's the only thing I could think of since I did not recieve oral sex that night and symptoms came up a few days later.

My partner has not been tested.  Will they normally order the igg test at sex health clinics?  He doesn't have insurance.

I'm confused because I've only had oral sex a few times, but i know it only takes one time but that that is rare.  I hadn't received oral sex for months before symptoms came up and my outbreak seemed very classic.  I got one sore and then a few days later another, a few days later another and they were bilateral.  Lasted about 2 weeks after being put on valtrex and I was also on antibiotics for an infection.  Could this have possibly been passed by a finger?  
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101028_tn?1348750963
usually herpes is not a part of routine std testing. You have to ask if the clinic even offers herpes igg blood testing.  

it's not likely you contracted hsv1 from a finger. did your partner have anything going on on his fingers around the time of your symptoms?

grace
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Avatar_f_tn
I've never seen anything unusual on his fingers, but I can ask to double check.  You can have herpes on your finger?

I'm just stumped because oral sex has never really been a part of my sexual activity and contracting hsv-1 is already low risk, so I don't know how I possibly could have got this..
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101028_tn?1348750963
if he had a whitlow ob on his fingers, you would be able to see it easily and it would've hurt him quite a bit most likely.  whitlow doesn't shed through the thicker skin on the hands without an obvious lesion present.  

you can get hsv1 from genital to genital sex. It happens less often that way but it does happen.  

grace
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Avatar_f_tn
Do you think hsv-1 can be spread from protected genital to genital intercourse when there are no symptoms?  I read on a post from Dr. H that he felt this risk was zero.  

People who contract genital hsv-1 usually have pretty classic initial outbreaks, right?  What do you think the likelihood is of having a completely asymptomatic initial outbreak?  My partner said he's never had any symptoms.

Is the 2-21 day time period for symptoms to show up pretty consistent or is it possible for people to fall outside of this by a week or two?  
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101028_tn?1348750963
condoms are not 100% protection against herpes transmission.  

yes, folks who contract hsv1 genitally tend to have very obvious initial ob's.  

grace
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you so much for your help on this forum, I wasn't able to have a lot of questions answered by my nurse (she didn't even tell me that there was much of a difference between type 1 and type 2 !)

It just is very unlikely my partner has it genitally has he's never noticed symptoms but it seems likely it was from that night ... unless I developed symptoms 5-6 weeks after exposure but it still would be genital to genital contact.

I think if my partner tests negative and if I don't have any recurrences after 6 months (it's been 4) I'm going to get tested again.  I know sometimes people with type 1 have no recurrences and blood tests miss some infections, but it just all seems like almost a zero chance, unless I'm just extrememly unlucky.

Thanks again.
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