Herpes Expert Forum
Spreading Cold Sores or HSV1
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Welcome to the Herpes forum. This forum is for questions and support pertaining to herpes simplex virus infections (HSV-1 and 2) and herpes zoster (shingles) and the virus that causes it, varicella zoster virus. Questions about genital herpes are welcome both here and on the STD Forum.

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Spreading Cold Sores or HSV1

Dear Terry, I have had cold sores for many years, since a young child in grade school, although I have not seen them in quite some time in my mouth. I was concerned about spreading cold sores since I know I have scratched myself in the genital region. Even a few years ago I did have a crack on my scrotal skin, and after all I have read on the internet; I became concerned if this could be herpes. The small crack resolved quickly it was not red, nor did it itch, but when I  directed water on it from the shower it did sting though, however it has not returned. I would like to know if you can spread herpes to your genitals and not even really have symptoms or very mild symptoms. I even took a blood test a few years later due to my concern; a WB test and it came back positive for HSV 1, as expected due to cold sores; and negative for type 2. Questions, can you catch herpes both orally and genitally, will the type 1 virus stay dormant in your genital region for years and then reactivate? How do you know if you have type 1 genital herpes or not? Any insight would greatly be appreciated, all of this information can be overwhelming, thank you so much for the Form you provide.
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Once you have an HSV 1 infection in one part of your body (for you, your mouth), it is extremely unlikely you will subsequently get it in a new location on your body.  I seriously doubt that you have to worry about HSV 1 genital infection.  

Many things can cause cracks in the skin - mostly commonly in that area for men, a mild fungal infection, also known as jock itch.  

Hope this helps to reassure you.

Terri
3 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Terri, thank you for your response...I was trying to find out why you could not get the type 1 virus twice or in different parts of your body, if previously exposed. I was trying to understand this from a medical stand point. It seems almost anything from a pimple, small crack, or rash could be considered herpes in  the genital region, and this was the reason for concern.  I also asked Grace to explain, but more or less was directed back to you; I am not sure how many questions I can ask. Thank you for your help and expertise.
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55646_tn?1263664409
The reason you don't get it in a new place is because you have an immune response that recognizes the virus if it tries to get into a new place and says NO, you can't come in.  Think about it - if people could get HSV in new place, children who touch cold sores and then touch other parts of their body would be transferring it all the time!

In 30 years of practice, I have seen this happen once, and in that case, I'm not at all convinced it happened (the patient thought so but I'm very much less clear).

Terri
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55646_tn?1263664409
Terri Warren, RN, Adult Nurse Pr...Blank
Westover Heights Clinic
Portland, OR
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