Everyone knows that HSV 2 is a genital infection but how contagious is HSV 1 genitally? Let’s try to answer this question shortly.
HSV1 infection has several names: “cold” on the lips, fever on the lips, herpes on the lips, herpes labialis, or labial herpes.
A cold sore on the lips is primarily caused by the herpes simplex virus type I (HSV-I). 95% of people have this virus in their bodies.
HSV-1 is transmitted primarily through oral contact and causes oral herpes (symptoms of which can manifest as “fever on the lips”), but can also cause genital herpes.
Herpes simplex virus can be contracted through skin contact, contact with vesicles, and sometimes even in the absence of visible lesions.
In order to clarify how contagious is HSV 1 genitally, you need to differentiate the ways of transmission for both infections. HSV-2 is more commonly transmitted sexually, but HSV-1 herpes can also be contracted through, for example, oral sex. According to the WHO, from 50% to 80% of the adult population of developed countries are infected with herpes of the first type and about 20% with herpes of the second type. Because symptoms are often subtle, 90% may not even be aware of their infection.