Sex Advice

Dear Dr. Locker: Is it possible to have herpes if I have never had a sore?

Answer from Dr. Locker

Yes. Herpes most often presents as a "cold sore" or "fever blister" on the mouth, or as a sore, lesion, cut, or blister on the genitals or anus. It can also present with itching, pain, or tingling before a sore appears. Yet prior to (or in between) those signs, the presence of the herpes virus can be detected in an infected person's blood -- and can be transmitted to a partner. In fact, it is estimated that 80% of people who have genital herpes are unaware they carry the infection. Sixty percent do not recognize their symptoms, and 20% have no symptoms.

If you are wondering if you have herpes, please see a doctor for a complete exam and sexually transmitted infection tests. While there is no cure for herpes, there are very effective medications to reduce the frequency and severity of outbreaks.


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