Last year, in my Anatomy & Physiology class, the subject of herpes came up, which launched a few people into mini-tirades laced with judgmental language, describing it as “disgusting” and “gross.” My classmates might have been more sensitive, as statistically speaking, there were probably several people in that very room who were living with herpes. Given that most of my fellow students were pursuing careers in the health-care field, it was especially disheartening. Yet despite being relatively widespread, herpes is often stigmatized and misunderstood.
I’d like to point out that just because cold sores = herpes, doesn’t mean that you should ostracize or avoid people with cold sores. People who have STDs/STIs can still live full healthy sex lives, they just have to be more careful. Use protection during any kind of sex, and don’t have sex when you have a breakout. If you contract oral herpes that’s okay. It’s not the end of the world. It’s just mildly annoying sometimes and if you have a higher immune system or take care of yourself you won’t have as many break outs. Just use protection when you are performing oral sex on someone and let them know that there is a chance that they could get herpes. Never touch a cold sore and touch something or someone else. You can transfer herpes to other parts of your body as well, so never touch a sore without washing your hands afterwards. Also, if you get herpes genitally it’s not a big deal. I have herpes genitally, and I got it from someone with a cold sore going down on me. In the almost a year that I’ve had it I’ve only had two breakouts. The first one is always the worst and the second only lasted a couple of days.
Having an STD/STI does not mean you have to be celibate, it just means you have to be more careful.
Cold sores ARE oral herpes. Most commonly, whenever someone is a child they can get herpes from a family member who gets cold sores kissing them. A LOT of people don’t know that cold sores/fever blisters are herpes and can be spread to the genitals. I’ll see posts on tumblr where people will say things like “got another cold sore, don’t worry it’s not herpes!” or “don’t worry guys cold sores aren’t THAT kind of herpes!” and all I can imagine is how awful it’s going to be when they give their partner genital herpes because they didn’t know that cold sores are herpes. That’s why using protection during oral sex is so important and the fact that many people don’t use protection during oral sex is so devastating!
make sure it is a cold sore, they are commonly confused with canker sores, which are not herpes.