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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How is the herpes simplex virus spread?

    I have oral herpes and am curious how I may have gotten it??
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    Dr Tony Bushati

    Gynaecologist, Obstetrician

    Obstetrician and Gynaecologist Dr Tony Bushati is a specialist Obstetrician & Gynaecologist with a particular interest in general and high risk obstetric, miscarriage, laparoscopic surgery … View Profile

    There are 2 types of Herpes Simplex Virus, Type 1 and Type 2. These viruses get in the body through broken skin, close contact or during sexual intercourse.

    Type 1 is usually transmitted in early childhood and preschool years. It is often acquired orally through saliva contact, skin contacts, breath droplets or kissing.  It can also be transmitted through people sharing toothbrushes or other utilities, such as lip balms or razors with infected persons. Genital Type 1 Herpes can be sexually transmitted though oral sex.

    Type 2 is predominantly a sexually transmitted disease. It can be transmitted through anal sex and oral sex.

    The virus can be transmitted from a pregnant mother to the unborn baby. The risks to the unborn baby are minimal if the mother has no active blisters in the genitalia and has no symptoms. However, the risk significantly increases if the mother contracts the virus for the first time in pregnancy.

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