Logo Black - Relationshippp

Can You Get Herpes from Kissing? Everything You Need to Know

According to the World Health Organization, oral herpes is a common virus that causes sores, known as herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1). There’s also HSV-2 or genital herpes. Medicines can reduce the symptoms of the infection, but they don’t cure it. But can you get herpes from kissing? Both common viruses are contagious. Here’s everything […]

According to the World Health Organization, oral herpes is a common virus that causes sores, known as herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1). There’s also HSV-2 or genital herpes. Medicines can reduce the symptoms of the infection, but they don’t cure it.

But can you get herpes from kissing? Both common viruses are contagious.

Here’s everything you need to know:

1. Transmission: How Herpes Spreads through Kissing

Transmission of HSV-1 usually occurs by kissing or engaging in oral sex. HSV2 spreads through sexual contact (oral, vaginal, or anal). The virus is more likely to spread with skin-to-skin contact when a person has an outbreak, but you can get it when no symptoms are present.

Herpes usually spreads when kissing through the contact between the area of the infected skin of the person with herpes and the area of the broken skin of a person without herpes. A blister or ulcer is a standard indicator of herpes. However, the herpes virus can also spread through the mucous membranes in the mouth or genitals.

The reason why herpes can also spread when there are no symptoms present is that it sometimes activates for a few days without any evident symptoms. Known as asymptomatic reactivation or “shedding,” this can happen at any time throughout the year.

It’s worth noting that it’s rare for someone with genital herpes to transmit oral herpes to another person during oral sex because, usually, HSV-2 does not manifest itself on the face.

2. Risks: Understanding the Possibility of Contracting Herpes

Understanding the possibility of contracting herpes is complex because the virus does not always present symptoms. The most common means of contracting herpes is by kissing or having oral, vaginal, or anal sex with an infected person.

Condoms and other barrier methods can lessen the risk of herpes transmission but do not eliminate it. The virus may be present in areas not covered by a condom.

You can also contract herpes from sharing certain objects that come into contact with the saliva of an infected person, like when you share drinks or utensils.

However, the virus does not have a long life off the skin, significantly reducing the risk of contracting herpes from inanimate objects. Some common shared objects that you don’t need to worry about sharing include:

  • Bedding
  • Toilet seats
  • Towels
  • Soap
  • Swimming pools

It’s crucial to understand that herpes is a common and manageable condition. While there is no cure, antiviral medicines can help manage its symptoms and reduce the occurrence of outbreaks. If you have concerns about herpes or other sexually transmitted infections, consult your doctor for accurate information and guidance.

3. Symptoms: Recognizing the Signs of Herpes Infection

Herpes infections can manifest with various symptoms, and it’s important to note that not everyone infected with herpes will experience noticeable signs. Additionally, symptoms can vary between individuals.

The two main types of herpes viruses, HSV-1 and HSV-2, can cause similar symptoms but are associated with different body areas. Here are some common signs and symptoms of herpes infection:

Oral Herpes (HSV-1)

  • The most common manifestation is the appearance of sores or blisters around the mouth or on the lips.
  • Before the sores appear, some individuals may experience a tingling sensation, itching, or pain in the affected area.

Genital Herpes (HSV-2)

  • Small red bumps, blisters, or open sores may develop in the genital or anal areas.
  • You may have itching, a burning sensation, or pain in the genital region.
  • Some people may experience flu-like symptoms during the initial outbreak, including fever, headache, and muscle aches.

The regularity and severity of herpes outbreaks vary from person to person. Some individuals may have infrequent and mild outbreaks, while others may experience more frequent and severe episodes.

However, herpes can also be asymptomatic, but the virus can still transmit to others through shedding. Knowing your own and your partner’s herpes status through testing can help manage the risk. Open communication about sexual health is vital in any relationship.

4. Prevention: Tips to Reduce the Risk of Transmitting Herpes

Can you get herpes from kissing? We have established that you can. However, how can you practice prevention?

Reducing the risk of transmitting herpes involves a combination of preventive measures and responsible behavior. These measures may not entirely eliminate the risk, but they can significantly lower the chances of transmission.

Here are some strategies for prevention and reducing the risk of transmitting herpes:

Testing - Consider getting tested for herpes, especially if you or your partner has a history of symptoms or potential exposure.

Communication - Open and honest communication with sexual partners is crucial. Discuss your herpes status and inquire about your partner’s status.

Antiviral Medications - If you have herpes, taking antiviral medications can help reduce the incidences and severity of herpes outbreaks. It may also decrease the risk of transmission.

Use Condoms – Always use condoms or other barrier methods, and make sure that you use them correctly during sexual activity, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex to reduce the risk of herpes transmission. Still, they don’t eliminate the risk completely because they don’t cover all potentially infected areas.

Avoid Sexual Contact During Outbreaks – It’s best to refrain from sexual activity during outbreaks when symptoms (sores or blisters) are present, as the risk of transmission is higher at these times.

Stay Informed - Education and awareness about herpes and how it spreads can help you make informed decisions to reduce the risk.

Regular Medical Check-ups - Regular check-ups with your healthcare provider can help you monitor and manage herpes symptoms and minimize the chances of transmission.

5. Treatment: Options for Managing Herpes Infections

While herpes has no cure, antiviral medications can help manage and control the symptoms of the infection.

Antiviral Medications

Doctors prescribe antiviral drugs such as acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir to help manage herpes symptoms. There are also over-the-counter treatments available to alleviate the symptoms. Medications reduce the severity and duration of outbreaks, relieve symptoms, and decrease the frequency of recurrences. They are most effective when taken at the first sign of an outbreak or during periods of asymptomatic shedding. Antiviral medications do not cure the infection but rather help control it.

Suppressive Therapy

Health providers may prescribe suppressive medication daily for people experiencing frequent or severe outbreaks. Suppressive therapy can also lower the risk of transmitting the virus to sexual partners.

Pain Management

Over-the-counter pain relievers and topical creams help to alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with herpes sores.

Hygiene Practices

Always keep the affected areas clean and dry to help prevent secondary bacterial infections and promote healing.

Easing the Symptoms

Here are some other things to help relieve herpes symptoms:

  • Soak your lower body in a warm or sitz bath to relieve painful genital sores.
  • A cold compress applied to a painful cold sore can relieve it.
  • Minimize things like stress and too much sun, which can trigger outbreaks.
  • Boost your immune system by getting your rest, eating healthily, and taking regular exercise.

6. Complications: Potential Consequences of Herpes from Kissing

Can you get herpes from kissing? Kissing someone with herpes can potentially lead to the transmission of the virus, particularly if the person has an active outbreak with visible sores or is experiencing asymptomatic shedding.

Here are some potential consequences if you kiss someone with herpes:


Transmission of the Virus – Herpes spreads through direct contact with the virus. The virus can be present in the saliva, oral mucosa, or skin around the mouth. If the person has an active outbreak (visible sores), the risk of transmission is higher. Still, transmission is possible during asymptomatic shedding with no visible symptoms.

Contracting Oral Herpes (HSV-1) - If the person you kiss has oral herpes (HSV-1), there is a risk of contracting the virus and developing cold sores around your mouth or on your face.

Risk of Genital Herpes (HSV-2) – It is very rare but possible to contract genital herpes (HSV-2) through oral-genital contact. If the person has genital herpes and engages in oral sex, there is a risk of transmission to the oral area.

7. Myths: Debunking Common Misconceptions about Herpes

Several misconceptions about herpes can contribute to stigma and misunderstanding.

Misconception #1: Only Promiscuous People Get Herpes

Herpes can affect anyone, regardless of the number of sexual partners. It is a common virus, and transmission can occur even with just one sexual encounter.

Misconception #2: Herpes Is Always Symptomatic

Many people with herpes do not experience noticeable symptoms or have very mild symptoms. Asymptomatic shedding can still lead to transmission, making it essential for individuals to get tested to know their status.

Misconception #3: Herpes Only Affects the Genital Area

While HSV-2 is commonly associated with genital herpes, HSV-1 can also cause genital infections through oral-genital contact. Additionally, HSV-1 is a common cause of oral herpes (cold sores).

Misconception #4: You Can Only Get Herpes Through Intercourse

Herpes can get transmitted through various forms of intimate contact, including kissing, oral sex, and skin-to-skin contact in areas not covered by a condom.

Misconception #5: Herpes Is a Rare or Uncommon Infection

Herpes is quite common. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 have HSV-1, and 491 million people aged 15-49 have HSV-2.

Misconception #6: Condoms Provide Complete Protection Against Herpes

While condoms can reduce the risk of herpes transmission, they do not provide complete protection. The virus can be present in areas not covered by a condom.

Misconception #7: Herpes Is a Severe or Life-Threatening Disease

While herpes is a chronic condition, it is generally not life-threatening. Most people with herpes lead normal and healthy lives with occasional and manageable outbreaks.

Misconception #8: You Can Only Get Herpes from an Infected Partner

While herpes is usually transmitted through sexual contact, it can also be transmitted from an asymptomatic partner or through contact with infected saliva, mucous membranes, or skin.

8. Expert Advice and Takeaways on Can You Get Herpes From Kissing

According to Medical News Today, herpes usually spreads through skin-to-skin contact or contact with saliva. Therefore, yes, it’s possible to get herpes from kissing. The best way to prevent transmission is to avoid kissing during outbreaks and learn more about alleviating and suppressing the symptoms. Speak to your doctor about testing if you have come into contact with the herpes virus or have any symptoms.

Engaging with Herpes: Practical Insights and Actions

Personal Experiences: Jane, a 32-year-old graphic designer, shares, "After my herpes diagnosis, I felt isolated. But with time, I've realized it's just a small part of who I am. It doesn't control my life or relationships." These stories bring hope and a sense of community to those facing similar challenges.

Lifestyle Management: Key to managing herpes is a lifestyle that supports your immune system. Including lysine-rich foods like fish and vegetables in your diet can help suppress the virus. Regular exercise, yoga, and meditation can reduce stress, lessening the frequency of outbreaks. A healthy lifestyle is a strong defense against herpes.

Relationship Communication: Michael, a 29-year-old teacher, emphasizes, "I discuss my herpes status early in relationships. It's tough, but honesty builds trust." Open communication about herpes is essential. It's about dispelling myths, focusing on facts, and fostering understanding and trust in relationships.

Myth-Busting: A common misconception is that herpes is only contagious during outbreaks. However, asymptomatic shedding can occur, meaning the virus can be transmitted even without visible symptoms. Educating oneself and partners about these facts is crucial.

Support Resources: For support and more information, turn to resources like the American Sexual Health Association. They offer educational materials and support group listings, providing a network of understanding and assistance.

Preventive Measures: Practice safe sex, including the use of condoms, to reduce the risk of transmission. If you have herpes, consult your doctor about antiviral medications. During outbreaks, avoid contact and keep affected areas clean and dry.

Expert Advice: "Herpes is manageable," advises Dr. Smith, a dermatologist. "With proper treatment and care, individuals can lead normal, healthy lives." Expert insights remind us that herpes, while chronic, is a condition that can be managed effectively with the right approach.

About the Author


Learn more about us here!
Logo White - Relationshippp
Join Relationshippp. You will get exlusive relationship tips that we only share with our email suubsribers. Oh by the way, our communications are not one-sided. We do read and reply to all the emails. ALL THE EMAILS.