Young people who are opting for oral sex as a ‘safe’ alternative to unprotected sexual intercourse or who initially opt for oral sex before loosing their virginity is fueling a rise in cases of genital herpes passed on from cold sores, according to new research.
Cold sores, which are suffered by almost half the population, are the oral form of the herpes virus. Oral herpes present in cold sores can be passed on to the genitals via oral sex via an infected person with an active cold sore.
The study, published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, found that today’s young people have fewer antibodies to fight the herpes virus and so are much more susceptible to catching the virus via oral sex.[quote]The study found that today as much as 50% of cases of genital herpes has been caught via oral sex with a person with an active cold sore.[/quote]
The herpes virus in cold sores is only active when an actually sore is present. When the cold sore bursts and leaks clear liquid is the time when cold sores are at their most infectious. The liquid that leaks from an active cold sore contains thousands of particles of the herpes virus and in highly contagious and can easily be passed on to the genital area via oral sex.
The increased susceptibility of young people today to the herpes virus is thought to be due to less exposure to the virus as children as modern parents with cold sores who are more informed about the herpes virus try and be more careful about contaminating their children with the virus.