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HSV-1 Incubation Period
Hi Everyone,

I have a question regarding the incubation period for HSV-1.

About a month ago, I received unprotected oral sex from my girlfriend (monogamous relationship). A day later, I noticed that a cold sore had appeared on the corner of her mouth. She had never had one before, which led us to believe that despite our best intentions to avoid contact while I was flaring up, she caught my cold sore.

I'm worried that by performing oral sex on me shortly before a cold sore had appeared, there's a possibility that she might have passed it onto my penis.

It has been just over a month since that day, and I haven't noticed any symptoms (I know what a cold sore looks like) indicating that the cold-sore had spread *knock on wood*. However, I'd like to know how long it usually takes for any symptoms to appear. My web research  usually yields figures like "2-20 days".  I went to two walk-in clinics and had some tests done (urethral swab, urine test), but as we all know a HSV-1 test is useless without an open sore being present.  The doctors also said that symptoms should surface in about a month if the infection has spread, but doctors aren't right 100% of the time- they're still human, after all.

Since I've had exposure to the HSV-1 virus before (and therefore developed the antibodies) is it possible that the symptoms may appear later on on? In other words, is it useless to go by the 2-20 day forecast, since I have been exposed to HSV-1 for most of my life, already?

Or, am I in the clear?


Thanks!


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Avatar universal
Oh! I forgot to mention that I did have a very brief cold sore flare-up (on my mouth) a few weeks after my girlfriend performed oral sex, on me. But it was on my mouth, and there were no signs of HSV-1 in any other places.

Thanks again!
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101028 tn?1419606604
Your own oral hsv1 infection gives you significant protection from acquiring hsv1 genitally later on.  I think you've been spending a lot of time and money worrying about nothing.

When you think about it - the whole point is moot anyways. Your hsv1 oral infection will always be more of an issue than a hsv1 genital infection would be anyways since oral hsv1 sheds on average 18% of days and hsv1 genitally 3% of days.

grace
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Hi Grace,

Thanks for the speedy response, but I do have one more question- am I in the clear? Most websites (and the doctors I've seen) have said that if nothing shows up in a month, I'm in the clear.

Does that sound about right, given my prior exposure to HSV-1?
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Oh! And by "significant protection", do you mean that the HSV-1 virus won't take up residence on my genitals, or do you mean that it's possible that it still exists, but will remain dormant?
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101028 tn?1419606604
It's not 100% protection but it's enough not to really worry about it. Of course always err on the side of caution - if a partner has an obvious cold sore ( or you have one ) don't perform oral sex on each other if for no other reason that a cold sore is an open portal into the body for bacteria to invade and potentially cause a secondary infection.  In all my years on the herpes boards - I've only ever heard of 2 or 3 folks getting hsv1 genitally after having a well established oral infection.  So yes it happens but not enough to worry about.

I think no obvious genital symptoms means no genital hsv1 infection. Put this behind you and move on.

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so basically... hsv1 isnt really anything to worry about unless there is a breakout? are condoms still necessary if its a mono.relationship,? is the possibliity of spreading the virus increased at all? or is it as simple as no oral sex during breakouts?
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