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HSV1 Primary Outbreak - symptom worry


First I wanted to thank you for the work you do on this site - it’s been an invaluable resource for me over the years.

I had an encounter with a sex worker last week where we kissed and had protected oral. I’m not worried about the latter as I have read about this on here before, however I’m a little concerned about the possibility of contracting HSV1 - she had no visible outbreak, and the whole thing lasted maybe 10 minutes. I’m pretty sure that I didn’t have it previously, though I am aware of asymptomatic HSV1.

This all happened 5 days ago. In the days since I have experienced certain symptoms but I can’t be sure if they are genuine or the result of anxiety. First I had light flu symptoms that lasted for one evening (shivering, a slight fever) and in the days since I have had sore lips (although I have been constantly checking for sores so this may have irritated them - additionally I am prone to sore, red, chapped lips and have been all my life) The soreness has responded to antiseptic cream tho, and crucially, I haven’t broken out in any painful sores, or anything visibly worrying. (I do have what I think are Fordyce spots on the inside of my lip, but again I have noticed these in the past and they aren’t painful at all)

I know symptoms usually present themselves in the 4-12 day window, but does this include the flu symptoms and general soreness around the mouth? Do you think it’s likely I would have caught HSV1 from this single encounter? In your experience does it sound like I am at risk? I’m anxious about passing this on to friends/ family / future partners without realising.

Many thanks in advance
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207091 tn?1337709493
Have you ever been tested for hsv1? 67% of people under 50 have it globally, and the vast majority - around 90% - never get symptoms.

You might already have it.

It's possible to get hsv1 from kissing anyone - including sex workers.

If you do get it, yes, 2-12 days is the typical time in which symptoms will appear. These symptoms will be blisters. If you don't see those, then don't worry.

We don't have transmission stats for hsv1 because so many people have it. It's hard to say how likely you are to have caught it.
Helpful - 1
Hi Jessi - thank you for your reply.

I’ve not been tested for HSV before but  to be candid, from the small number of partners I’ve had I think I’ve probably had less exposure than most. I will get tested now though!

So just so I understand properly, the flu symptoms and soreness aren’t worrying in and of themselves? I should only be really concerned if blisters appear?

I feel so stupid - I thought I was practicing safe sex but just goes to show.  I thought if there were no visible cold sores I would be ok!

Thank you again
It doesn't matter how many partners you've had. Many get hsv1 as kids from well-meaning relatives who kiss them.

Your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc., probably have this - or at least a good number of them do.

Flu symptoms alone are not concerning - what with the flu, colds, covid (that's actually still around), etc., it would be far more likely to be something like that than herpes. When we talk about flu symptoms with herpes, we mean feeling tired, maybe a fever, achy.

The symptoms you get on your lips - are they actually chapped or could you have an allergic reaction to something? Why do you not use lip balm or something? Does it only happen in winter or does it happen in warmer spring and summer months?

Ah I see - I may well have it then, and will get myself tested.

My flu symptoms were similar to
what you describe - I got very shivery and felt a little feverish even tho I didn’t have a temperature. But I may have been placing importance on minor symptoms due to anxiety.

The soreness around my mouth has been there since I was little - whenever there’s a change in weather I get redness and soreness around my mouth, not actually on my lips themselves (hence why chapstick doesn’t really work) it just looks like I’m wearing lipstick for a week or so!

Thank you for your help with this
You're welcome. :)
Apologies, I do have one further question if that’s ok? Regarding blister / sores, I’ve seen a lot of responses on here along the lines of “if you got an HSV1 blister, you’d know it” - does this mean that (provided you weren’t asymptomatic) an outbreak would be very obvious?
Yes, you'd notice an outbreak.

Is anxiety an issue for you? It seems like it might be. Have you ever talked to anyone about that? You should consider that.
Cool thank you - so no point going mad scrutinising blemishes on my lips then!

Yes I think it might be too. I’ve never spoken to anyone about it but now might be the time to start.

Thank you again - this has been very helpful
No, "scrutinizing" is never needed when looking for any STD symptoms, or oral herpes symptoms.

In fact, the more you check, the more you could irritate the skin, causing symptoms you might then fear are symptoms, causing more anxiety.

Yes, please do speak to someone. Now is always the best time to start. :)
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