Oral Herpes is caused by HSV-1, and appears as cold sores (also referred to as fever blisters) on the mouth or facial area. Depending on infection, Oral Herpes can also appear on the genital area.
Oral Herpes (HSV-1) is extremely common in the United States. In fact, the CDC estimates that between 50% and 80% of adults are infected with the HSV-1 virus (the virus that causes oral herpes). Oral Herpes is so common, that it is estimated that as much as 90% of the US population will carry the virus by the time they reach age 50.
The HSV-1 is so prevalent among US adults because of how easy it is to contract and transmit. Most people that carry the HSV-1 virus contracted it in their childhood by something as innocuous as a kiss from a relative of friend.
Genital Herpes (HSV-2) is less common, but still a prevalent risk in the Unites States. CDC statistics estimate that about one in five adults carry the HSV-s virus (the virus that causes genital herpes).
For those that display symptoms from HSV-1, they often experience lesions inside the mouth, such as cold sores (fever blisters), or infections of the eye. For more information about the symptoms of oral herpes see our Oral Herpes symptoms page.
Oral Herpes (HSV-1) can be transmitted through skin to skin contact, with the highest risk of transmission being when sores are present. To reduce the risk of transmission, do not touch the sores directly nor kiss or perform oral sex when sores are present.
The Oral Herpes test requires a blood sample – the same test is used to test for Herpes Simplex 2 (Genital Herpes). getSTDtested.com offers the HerpeSelect blood test for Herpes 1 which you can test for at any of our over 2,000 local medical centers.
There is no cure for oral herpes. However, there are antiviral medications that can help shorten, and even prevent, recurring HSV-1 outbreaks.