If You Have HSV1 (Herpes) How Do You Know When You Can Kiss Again?

by Reid on August 9, 2017

man looks at beautiful woman with box on his head sitting on theWhen is it safe to kiss people if you have herpes?

With Reid Mihalko from ReidAboutSex.com and Cathy Vartuli from TheIntimacyDojo.com.

Cathy: Someone wrote in and said, “If you have HSV-1 or Herpes 1, how do you know when to kiss again?”

That’s really a pointy question. If you found out and diagnosed with something, how do you know when you’re safe? How do you know when you can reach out and reconnect again? This is Reid Mihalko from ReidAboutSex.com.

Reid: Cathy Vartuli from TheIntimacyDojo.com. Would you like a grape? Alright, go!

Cathy: So there isn’t a “safe time” for say where you could not transmit HSV-1. They think it’s likely if you’re not having an outbreak but it’s always important to talk to your potential partners about it before you kiss them. Now, there are lot of people that have HSV-1 and it’s not the…

Reid: I have HSV-1. I have herpes! People still sleep with me.

Cathy: Yes and you tell people before you kiss them? And that’s…

Reid: Well, actually I don’t tell everybody I have herpes before I kiss them.

Cathy: No?

Reid: No. So…

Cathy: You tell everybody before you sleep with them?

Reid: Before I sleep with them. But I’ve made out with lots of people and not told them and… this promise you we get lots of comments about this. You’re going to figure this one out for yourself but what it comes down to is herpes is isn’t fatal and my heart goes out to folks who have herpes that have too many [inaudible 00:01:39] outbreaks.

Cathy: Or compromising immune system before it’s…

Reid: Compromising immune system where it becomes trickier. It’s possible to get herpes in your eye in things like that but for the most parts statistically speaking, herpes is not fatal. Statistically speaking most people have 1, 2, 3 or 4 outbreaks.

Cathy: They get smaller. They get less…

Reid: Outbreaks get less and less. We have better and better medications to help prevent outbreaks and things like that. With those exceptions, herpes is really something that hast just a lot of cultural stigma and baggage. It’s just a pain in the ass.

Cathy: Originally, it was not considered as “sexually transmitted” like issue. There wasn’t really a stigma. It was a skin condition that some people got. I forget it was in a 50s or 70s, one of the drug companies found out something that would help treat it and so they kind of stigmata… if you have this, it’s a sexual, they made it shameful.

Reid: Yeah and depending on your emotional and physical needs are around feeling safe or a partner or a new partner, we have to recognize there’s a lot of stigma here. My advice is for you to figure out what your needs are around disclosure and be as good as you can about those things as best as you can. Also do the emotional work and have community around you if you’re HSV positive so that you can work through the stigma and the shame around it so that you can use your words to talk to people more about this. Sometimes, I tell people that I have herpes when I make me out them.

This is a tricky thing to talk about but if you think you have a cold and you’re going to kiss somebody, do you stop and tell them? There’s a little fly.

Cathy: They fell to the grapes.

Reid: No! If you think you have coming down to cold, do you tell somebody you’re going to kiss them or not? A cold is the most common sexually transmitted infection out there. I want to underscore get good at being able to talk to people about this stuff so that you can speak up and that’s not the issue. To answer the actual question, now we know about herpes that you can be what’s called “shedding”, you can be contagious anytime, you can be contagious when you’re not having an outbreak. You can be somebody like me who’s never had an outbreak that they know of but still test positive and understanding that, “Hey, you know I can give you herpes and not be in having an outbreak, is that okay with you?” It’s a simple check in like that.

Cathy: And you can also check with your doctor. There’s a medicine that helps suppress that… suppress the outbreaks and intentionally reduce the chance…

Reid: Intentionally reduce shedding but I don’t know that…

Cathy: And neither of us are medical doctors.

Kissing is not necessarily a safe act to anybody. We can get a cold, a flu. Aunt Gertrude can kiss us on the cheek with a cold sore and all of the sudden we have HSV-1. It’s not “safe” like it’s never like, “Oh it’s a hundred percent safe to kiss anybody.” But it’s usually worth it.

Reid: And when you are having an outbreak, we know you’re shedding and so then it would not be “safe”, that is when you are contagious for sure and so please avoid kissing people when you have an active outbreak. That’s just common sense but not really common sense because people don’t talk about like that.

Cathy: Yeah

Reid: Sometimes it’s difficult [inaudible 00:06:02] conversation was helpful. We do have more videos where we talk more about herpes, and stigma, and shame. So just do a little Google search and find those… YouTube search and find those out if it was useful and enjoy being human being.

Cathy: Yeah. Thanks for asking.

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