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Anonymous on September 16, 2011

Did I get oral herpes from oral sex?

Yesterday, I performed oral sex on a man. Today, I have what look like little pimples on the corner of my mouth. They’re sore, so I’m wondering if they might be herpes.

answered by
Terri Warren, MS, RN, ANP on September 16, 2011

I can understand your concern and I’d like to help. 

First, yes: it’s possible to get a sexually transmitted infection through unprotected oral sex. 

That said, the pimples in the corners of your mouth could be a herpes infection...or a more common condition called angular chelitis, which can be caused by a fungal infection. Do you know if this man has genital herpes or not? Knowing his herpes status would be very useful in understanding your risk for the virus. 

Also, if you’ve ever had a cold sore on your lip, on your chin in your nose, it’s unlikely that you would get a new herpes infection from this partner. 

What’s your next step? I would advise you to get the pimples swab tested for herpes...this needs to happen right away, because the longer you wait for a swab test from the time you start getting symptoms, the more unreliable the results. 

To get a swab test, you’ll need to visit your doctor. A clinician will take a cotton swab and touch it to your open sores to take a sample. If you wait until after the sores are gone, you can still get tested, but you’ll need to wait a little while ⎼ about six weeks ⎼ until your body creates antibodies to the herpes virus. You can learn more about herpes testing in our Expert Guide to Herpes 1 + 2

I’d also encourage you to evaluate your sexual health by getting tested for other common STDs. Why? Because if you’re worried you were exposed to one STD, you may have been exposed to others...recently or in the past. 

Next time you give someone oral sex, practice safer sex. Because unprotected oral, anal and vaginal sex put you at risk for herpes and other STDs, it’s a good idea for a man to wear a condom when he receives oral sex from you. Although this won’t protect you 100% from catching an STD if he has one, it will greatly reduce your risk. 

I wish you good luck in taking care of your symptoms. 

Related info:

Terri Warren, MS, RN, ANP

Warren is a Nurse Practitioner and owner of Westover Heights Clinic in Oregon. She is a renown expert and author in the field of genital herpes research, diagnosis and treatment. Warren was educated at Oregon Health and Sciences University and the University of Portland.

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