This week a reader is concerned that he may have come in contact with the Herpes virus. Jose Perez from the Terrence Higgins Trust answer his question.

Dear Jose,

A f*ck buddy of mine has just told me he has genital herpes but says he’s never had it whilst we’ve had sex.

Can I still get herpes if he’s not got an outbreak?


Dear Tim,

Genital Herpes is an infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), which can cause painful blisters in your genital area. It can be passed from person to person during sexual contact and is a long-term condition. The virus remains in your body and can become active at any time. HSV can affect any mucous membrane, any moist lining, such as your mouth – and can cause cold sores.

So, unless he has an active herpes infection, that is visible lesions then it is unlikely that you will be at risk of contracting herpes.

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However, if he is infected he should be undergoing treatment. This lowers the risk of catching herpes even further but as the virus is transmitted by skin to skin contact I would recommend that you go and get checked at your local sexual health clinic.

Using condoms or a dental dam (if you’re rimming) are great ways to further lower the risk of herpes, or other STIs passing from one person to another.

There are various treatments for herpes you can buy online to help you with the symptoms. However, you may need a prescription.

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The advice listed above is not intended to replace or take the place of that of your own doctor, GP or medical professional who knows your full medical history. If in any doubt make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.

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About the author: Jose Perez de la Cruz
For more information about sexual health and HIV, visit or call THT Direct (a free, confidential helpline) on 0808 802 1221