Do you have Herpes?Deadly Kiss

If so, how did you get it and what do you do to prevent breakouts?

If you don’t have Herpes, are you sure you don’t have Herpes?

Herpes can live inside you in antibody form without ever showing a outbreak.

You might be a carrier and not even know it.

Are you concerned about infecting someone with Herpes?

Are you proactively cautious in avoiding any exposure to Herpes if you are Herpes free? 

Would you kiss someone you knew had Herpes if you didn’t have Herpes?

There are two different strains of the Herpes virus:

  • Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is usually associated with infections of the lips, mouth, and face. It is the most common herpes simplex virus and is usually acquired in childhood. HSV-1 often causes lesions inside the mouth such as cold sores (fever blisters) and is transmitted by contact with infected saliva. By adulthood, up to 90% of individuals will have antibodies to HSV-1.
  • Herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) is sexually transmitted. Symptoms include genital ulcers or sores. In addition to oral and genital lesions, the virus can also lead to complications such as meningoencephalitis (infection of the lining of the brain and the brain itself) or cause infection of the eye — in particular the conjunctiva, and cornea. However, some people have HSV-2 but do not display symptoms. Up to 30% of U.S. adults have antibodies against HSV-2. Cross-infection of type 1 and 2 viruses may occur from oral-genital contact.

I had a blood test done and my doctor was surprised to learn I was free of any indication of either Herpes strain. He told me I didn’t even have antibodies for HSV-1. My doctor said I was lucky because “Herpes is everywhere and everyone has it.”

Herpes affects more than just your ability to create a warm smile so I guess I am sort of lucky I am not a “90 Percenter” infected with Herpes Simplex 1. Herpes can be passed from Rabbi to infant and end in death:

Two more babies have contracted herpes through an ancient circumcision rite, leading the city’s top health official yesterday to release an open letter to the city’s Orthodox Jewish community urging caution.The practice, known in Hebrew as metzitzah b’peh, involves a practitioner, or mohel, drawing blood from a child’s circumcision wound by mouth. Last year, three baby boys – including one who died – were known to be infected with herpes during circumcisions by the same Rockland County-based rabbi, Yitzchok Fischer, who has since suspended the practice, officials said.

Here’s how metzitzah b’peh spreads Herpes:

In metzitzah b’peh, the mohel places his mouth on the freshly circumcised penis to draw blood away from the cut. If the mohel is infected with oral herpes (as most adults are), metzitzah b’peh can expose the infant to the herpes virus. While severe illness associated with this practice may be rare , there is a definite risk of infection.Oral herpes spreads easily through saliva, especially when saliva touches a cut or break in the skin, such as during metzitzah b’peh.Most people with oral herpes don’t know they are infected and don’t have symptoms. Even without symptoms, however, people can spread the infection. Because the immune system of newborns is not developed enough to fight serious infection, herpes infections pose grave risks to infants.

High School wrestlers are not immune from infecting each other with Herpes:

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Minnesota high school wrestling programs were suspended Tuesday because of a widespread herpes outbreak. The Minnesota State High School League banned competitions and direct contact between wrestlers in practice until Feb. 6 after 24 cases of herpes gladiatorum were reported by 10 teams.The virus is spread by skin-to-skin contact, and symptoms include lesions on the face, head and neck. The suspension is meant to control the current outbreak, allow time to diagnose new cases and prevent disqualifications at the state tournament, scheduled for Feb. 28-March 3. The Minnesota Department of Health has been tracking the virus, caused by herpes simplex Type 1, the same strain that causes cold sores. Officials first became aware of the outbreak at a tournament in Rochester in late-December.

I saw a television show the other day that claimed 70% of new Herpes infections come from those with Herpes infecting their partners even though no active Herpes sores were visible. Once you have Herpes you always have Herpes.

There is no cure.

There is a forever risk and peril of passing on the virus and the responsibility of the carrier is to be proactive in being honest about their Herpes status.

You can get Herpes from a simple kiss.

If you haven’t had a blood test for Herpes, you should get a test done so you know where you stand in your relationships. Your test results may surprise you and, whatever the result, you will have to be careful not to spread the virus or infect yourself with the virus through unsafe sex or even casual contact.

When I was growing up, Herpes wasn’t really considered a big deal because “everyone gets cold sores.” Be careful with that kind of thinking because any virus that infects the body has the temptation — and even the biological duty — to flare up and cause problems when your immune system can least tolerate an outbreak.


  1. I fear getting the occasional infection is part of living in a community, you can minimise risks (obviously), but it just has to be accepted.
    Congratulations on being free by the way. No idea what jamming myself into overcrowded underground trains everyday has given me.

  2. Hey Ben!
    I understand the risk we share to our health by living together, but there are some things — like Herpes — that can be prevented because there is a long-term health risk in acquiring any virus that will live in the body forever.
    Some children are born with Herpes because they get infected in the vaginal canal upon birth if their mother has an active outbreak of genital Herpes.
    My doctor didn’t even tell me he was testing for Herpes. I guess it is part of his routine blood exam. He did have to read the report twice when it came to the Herpes antibodies, though. He didn’t believe the report. I told him I live clean — an original, but non-radical Straightedger — and I try to pay attention to these sorts of long-term threats to the body.
    Get tested, Ben! You never know what you need to know until you know it!

  3. Not much action here on the herpes front, huh, David? I guess it’s an uncomfortable topic when by your own accounting probably 90% of your readers are infected.

  4. Hi Anne! How right you are! Not much conversation today.
    It’s a fascinating publication lesson: The war will get a fine flow of reaction but I guess herpes hurts too much on a specific personal level to discuss in public.
    You’re right that 9/10 readers probably turned away when they saw the title and the head image.

  5. The topic is interesting if exapanded, though. How do we handle infections that are easily passed between people? How should we feel as a society of cultures where men placing their herpes mouths on infant penises is accepted as an appropriate religious ritual? Is that child abuse or celebrating God?

  6. Right on, Anne. Those are the sorts of issues that are ripe for dissection in today’s post.
    What do you think?
    If Herpes transmission is easy and permanent, should there be a Public Health mandate regulating interaction between people?
    An infant dying of Herpes after being infected by its mohel during circumcision is inexcusable and, in my mind, criminal.

  7. Herpes is considered as common as a runny nose but I’m not sure that’s a great thing because it makes us lazy in thinking about it and treating it. We may soon have a cure but until we do I think we should protect the remaining ten percent that are clean.
    Does a baby belong to its parents or its religion? You discussed that many times before. I’ve always felt a baby belongs to itself and if we thought that way we wouldn’t have these herpes infections after getting “moheled” like that.

  8. If you have cancer or AIDS or some other serious disease, Herpes can complicate matters as another viral infection so I certainly agree, Anne, that we need to think about Herpes in a different way than just a shrug-off.
    I don’t think any mohels who have Herpes should be performing that sort of surgery on an infant. Period!

  9. 90% is a hard majority to convince of a danger they have to live with all their lives.
    It’s too bad the babies have to suffer an active Herpes infection so early in their lives. The parents must be horrified.

  10. I understand, Anne, the reluctance for active Herpes carriers to want to step forward and have a conversation that isn’t important to them and risks their branding and compromised immune system.
    Babies getting Herpes by that circumcision method is not new, yet the practice and the infections continue! I don’t think the grieving parents are doing enough to ban the practice for the future health of other innocent infants!

  11. I will be very surprised if anyone sticks their hands up and admits to having herpes – or either variety.
    There is not enough education to distinguish either between the two , or to the manner of transmission that in some ways Herpes is a more taboo subject than AIDs or being HIV positive.
    And just for the record – No I dont have it – my blood was screened when I had my op, no he doesent have it , he was screened when he had his – and we dont play around.

  12. Nicola —
    I agree Herpes is stigmatized. Should it be?
    I also agree there is confusion between the types and that’s the reason for the post today. Herpes is much more insidious than just a simple breakout on the lips. I can be pernicious and really affect your health in skin in blanketing ways.
    How do you handle Herpes in your dungeon? Do you require tests for Herpes and HIV and AIDS before anyone begins to play? I know some in your community play to pierce skin, so there’s the chance for blood-to-body exchanges, right?

  13. No we dont ask for tests before people play.
    We also ensure people provide their own toys – we do not provide them.
    Ropes are sterilised after each use.
    What we do do is clean meticulously using recognised antibacterial agents.
    We also provide special kits for the safe disposal of *body fluids* .
    We provide disposable latex gloves, condoms and a sharps box ( for needle disposal).
    We manage the risk as well as we are able – even to the extent of changing the antibacterials around – just in case any resistance is built up.

  14. We use Napisan ( Cloth Nappy steriliser) or a water bleach solution 1/10.
    We then wash in washing machine on 40 degree wash and the air dry – tumble drying fluffs the fibres.

  15. I don’t think I’ve known many people who didn’t have cold sores from time to time. Isn’t it considered almost normal?

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