The transmission of the Herpes simplex virus can happen by any direct skin contact with affected areas. This means that it does not matter if the contact was made by one individuals’ mouth to anothers’ oral region, or from one persons’ genitals coming into contact with another persons’ genitals. The other possibility is from genital to oral touching. The normally believed notion that HSV-1 (oral herpes) and HSV-2 (genital herpes) could only be contracted in their respective zones is incorrect. Cross-infection exists and genital to oral herpes can happen.
The common misunderstanding is that HSV-1 causes herpes above the waist and HSV-2 causes it below the waist. With genital to oral herpes, this implies that an individual with infected genitals can spread the virus to another persons’ oral area. Oral area infections can be caused by either HSV-1 or HSV-2. Nevertheless, HSV-1 is usually the primary culprit. It is not clear why, but HSV-1 typically shows milder symptoms and less frequent outbreaks than HSV-2. This is true of herpes at both oral and genital sites. Thus, in most genital to oral herpes cases, the virus causing the infection is likely to be HSV-2.
When an afflicted persons’ genital region is experiencing an outbreak and viral shedding occurs, the herpes is contagious and can infect another person in any area of direct contact. If a couple were engaging in oral sex, genital to oral herpes can certainly be passed on this way. The mouth is a particularly vulnerable spot for being exposed to viruses, since it is completely lined with delicate mucus membranes and the slightest cut, scratch or abrasion of the soft tissues could surely allow bacteria and viruses in.
How Does Genital to Oral Herpes Appear?
When a strain of herpes from the genitals infects an oral region, it is essentially the same result as if it were infected by HSV-1. The appearance will be indistinguishable between the two types, since the virus is something that lies latent in the body until activated. When any form of herpes shedding occurs, the lip and mouth areas may develop giveaway signs. The person who has contracted genital to oral herpes might possibly develop red and inflamed blisters. These itchy, tingling sores can break open and leak fluid, followed by a period of crusting over once they have dried, before finally healing and ending the active cycle. Along with these localized symptoms and depending on the general state of immunity, the person could also experience the other standard signs of herpes infection including flu-like feelings, sore throat, swelling of the lymph nodes and fever.
Preventing Genital to Oral Herpes
Like under any other circumstance when an individual with herpes has sexual contact, it is important to take cautionary measures to ensure that the virus is not spread to his or her partner. Genital to oral herpes risks can be reduced by taking a few steps that provide protection, though it does not eliminate them altogether. This is because there are areas that do not get covered by the prophylactics, such as the anal region and thighs. To further lessen the risks, care must be taken in covering up all other areas that are exposed, by using underwear or protective clothing. The genital areas that do come in contact with another person should be covered in barrier protection like with a condom, dental dam or even plastic food wrap. If there are any signs of herpes shedding at that time, it is best to abstain from sex altogether. This is the only fail-safe method in preventing the spread of the herpes simplex virus between partners.