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Ask Dr. K

If you have herpes, but currently do not have an outbreak, what are the chances of transmitting the virus to another by receiving unprotected oral sex?

In people infected with herpes, the virus is shed about one day a month or 3% of the time. Since we do not know which day that might be, it is estimated that there is an overall maximum 3% risk of transmission over time. Since most people already have Herpes simplex type I (70%) and type II is not that effective at passing from penis to mouth, the risk is likely much lower, but not zero.

That's about the most we know.

To your health,
Dr. K

Last modified on Tuesday, June 03, 2008.
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