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HSV1 from sharing drink/cigarette.
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The STD Forum is intended only for questions and support pertaining to sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV/AIDS, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, human papillomavirus, genital warts, trichomonas, other vaginal infections, nongonoccal urethritis (NGU), cervicitis, molluscum contagiosum, chancroid, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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HSV1 from sharing drink/cigarette.

Hi Doctor,

I'm incredibly scared of contracting HSV1 (oral herpes) from an exposure I had 4 days ago. I shared a drink and a few puffs of a cigarette with a friend who after the fact told me he gets the occasional cold sore. He didn't have an active outbreak at the time, nor did he experience one in the days before/since. The cigarette was sort of went with saliva, and I had a small cut on my lip at the time. I know that I am negative for both types of HSV (had an IgG specific blood test a few months ago), and am therefore susceptible to infection. I know HSV1 isn't that big of a deal, but my boyfriend and I are both negative for it, and I'd like to keep it that way. Now, I'm panicking that I contracted it and am afraid to kiss him. How likely is it to contract HSV1 from sharing a drink/cigarette with an infected individual even though they did not have any symptoms at the time? Please help ease my fears. I panic at the slightest hint of redness on my lip, etc.
239123_tn?1267651214
Welcome back to the forum.

Responding first to the title you chose for your question: The brief, superficial sort of contact that occurs by sharing a cigarette or a drinking glass is rarely if ever sufficient to transmit HSV.  Infection usually doesn't take unless the virus is massaged into the tissues.  That's why initial genital herpes oubreaks are almost always at the sites of maximum friction during sex, i.e. the penis but not the scrotum or groin in men, and the labia minor and vaginal opening in women, less commonly the outer vulva, buttocks, etc.

And now having looked at the details of your question, my reply above still stands. In addition to those comments, even though your friend has oral herpes, the chance he is infectious at any point in time is low, especially if he wasn't in the midst of an outbreak.

So my advice is to not worry about this at all.  Don't get tested, and for sure do not hesitate to kiss or otherwise be intimate with your boyfriend.  There really is no risk here.

Please note that MedHelp permits a maximum of 2 questions every 6 months on each of the professionally moderated forums.  This being your second recently, I don't want you to risk losing the posting fee on a question that would be deleted without reply before next August.

Best wishes--  HHH, MD
7 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks Dr. Handsfield, I feel so much better given your reassurance. Take care!
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi Dr. Handsfield,


May I ask a question about HPV, specifically genital warts? You might notice from my first question and conversation with Dr. Hook that my boyfriend had a case of genital warts that had been treated months ago. I had the Gardasil series completed months before knowing him, and we didn't have any sexual contact until 3 months after he had been treated and no new lesions appeared. Can genital warts be flattened out when pulled on, or the skin stretched? I noticed a tiny, tiny bump on my vulva near the vaginal entrance that is the color of normal skin that flattens and the skin looks normal when stretched. The surrounding skin contour is bumpy as well and does the same thing, but for some reason I've zeroed in on this one spot. Is it likely I'm just focusing on normal skin, or could a developing wart appear this way? It's only been 6 weeks since my boyfriend and I had sexual contact of any kind. Can HPV lesions appear that soon?
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239123_tn?1267651214
This doesn't sound at all like a wart, partly for the reason you imply yourself:  a wart can't flatten out and look normal.  Warts rarely if ever appear in only 6 weeks; 2 months probably is the minimum, and the average is 6-9 months.  So I think you can safely ignore this, and would advise you to simply stop looking at the area.  But if you remain unconvinced or otherwise concerned, show it to your doctor the next time you have a routine appointment.
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Avatar_m_tn
It's so tiny that  I can barely notice it myself, and I just had my annual exam last week and so that doctor definitely didn't notice it. So I think it's safe to assume that given the characteristics of it, the timing, and the fact that I have Gardasil, I'm likely noticing a normal variation in skin texture, and will just need to stop checking the area and leave it alone. Thank you!
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi Dr. Handsfield,

I'm afraid a lecture I attended today (I'm getting my master's in biomedical research) really triggered my worry about HSV again. My professor specifically brought up the risk of contracting HSV through sharing a cigarette because he surmised that more saliva/contact with the lips occurs than with a glass. Do you agree with this? As per our previous discussion, I did share a cigarette/glass with someone who has HSV1 but had no outbreak at the time. This was 11 days ago. Do I still need to be on the lookout up until the very end of the possible 21 day incubation period, or should I be okay?
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239123_tn?1267651214
You came here for reassurance.  I gave it.  Accept it without second guessing.  I know what I'm talking about.

That's all for this thread.  Also please note my opening comment about the maximum number of permitted threads on the professional MedHelp forums.
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University of Washington
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