Hello Dr., I have two questions. The first one involves something that I recently remembered and has been causing me anxiety ever since. When I was younger (not sure how long ago), I decided that it would be a good idea to smell and lick the inside of bra of a friend’s mother that I found on the floor. I don't know how long it had been there (it may have been very short time), but I do remember it had an interesting taste to it (almost spicy, could have been her soap or something but I'm not sure). I do not know whether or not she had any sort of STD, or if she had any cuts on her breasts that I did not know about, or if she was lactating (though the two children she had were well past nursing age. I do not know if she was pregnant, but she has since had no kids, etc. She was an older woman, not a teenage mother. My first question is, is there any chance that I could have contracted an STD or any other sort of disease from this? I became sexually active in the last 8 months (with only my girlfriend), and I do not want to give her anything I could have caught from the bra. I have not been sexually active with anybody else, besides the occasional childhood kiss when I was younger.
My second question is regarding oral herpes, which I have (not from sexual contact, but from my younger years). I rarely get cold sores, but on occasion I do get one (I don't know if it's from HSV-1 or HSV-1). How careful should I be with my girlfriend if I do not have a VISIBLE cold sore? Could I still give it to her if there is not one present? She has had them in the past too, and so did her boyfriend of 6 years. She has been tested for STDs in the past, and she has told me that nothing has come up, but I know that the herpes test is not always accurate. Is it possible that she doesn't have herpes, and the cold sores are from something else? I really don't want to give her anything. Thanks! –E
Welcome to our Forum. In general, many of the questions asked of us tend to be about common themes- i.e. condom breakage, masturbation related risks, etc. Your question about bra licking is the first such question to have been brought to my attention in over 30 years of STD focused practice and research. I can assure you however that the scenario you describe carries absolutely no risk of STD acquisition. Your friend’s mother was unlikely to have and STD, if she did, she was unlikely to have introduced any infectious materials into her bra, and even if she had done both of these unlikely things, the micro organisms which cause STDs would not have survived. I promise you, there was no risk from your bra licking event.
As for your second question, if you and your GF both have ever gotten cold sores, there is little risk of infecting one another. The vast majority of recurring cold sores are due to HSV-1 and once a person has HSV-1 they are both infected for life and resistant to re-infection (persons with herpes do not get repeatedly infected with the same type of virus). This is true whether or not she (or you) have had recurrences recently. You are both still infected and your are both unable to repeatedly infect each other.
If there is any concern at all that one or the other of you might not have HSV-1, you could get a type specific, gG-based HSV antibody blood test such as the HerpeSelect. If you have HSV-1 infection, it is likely that your antibody test will be positive, proving that you are infected.
Hope this is helpful. for additional information on herpes or other STDs, I would refer you to the excellent web site of the American Social Health Association (ASHA). In the spirit of full disclosure, I would also add that both Dr. Handsfield and I are on the Board of ASHA.
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