Can I Transmit Herpes Through Kissing?
I was just diagnosed with HSV 2. Can I pass HSV2 by kissing someone or by giving oral sex? Can I give it to someone just by rubbing body parts together (what they call dry humping) without having sex? I am now on Valtrex, what else can I use besides condoms to prevent transmission?
HSV is a virus that is transmitted by infected body fluids. Mouth to mouth kissing isn’t likely to transmit HSV2. Oral sex can transmit disease but it is rare in the absence of an outbreak. Dry humping, where there is genital contact without penetration is unlikely to lead to disease transmission as long as there is a barrier in place, however, there can be ejaculate and vaginal secretions during dry humping – both of which can have virus in it – even in the absence of an outbreak.
People with herpes can reduce the risk of transmission by using condoms and you can reduce the risk further by taking suppressive therapy.
Important: We hope you find this general medical and health information useful, but this Q&A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. For all personal medical and health matters, including decisions about diagnoses, medications and other treatment options, you should always consult your doctor. See full Disclaimer.
Charlotte Grayson, M.D., is an internist in the Atlanta, Georgia, area. She is a 1995 graduate of Boston University School of Medicine. She completed her internal medicine residency in 1998 at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Previously, Dr. Grayson was Senior Medical Editor for a leading healthcare content company. She frequently speaks to the media about health, appearing on Fox News and CNN and contributing to TIME, Real Simple, Women’s Health, and WebMD magazines.