Chances of Getting Herpes From an Infected Partner: Understanding Transmission

Rahul Gupta
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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chances of getting herpes from infected partner

Herpes refers to a group of viral infections caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). 

It spreads through skin-to-skin contact with infected areas, commonly occurring during vaginal, oral, or anal sex, as well as through kissing.

As per the World Health Organization (WHO), over 3.7 billion individuals under 50, constituting 67% of the population, carry Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 (HSV-1).

While Herpes is not life-threatening, it can be transmitted to your partner during sexual intimacy, potentially leading to various complications.

Read this informative article to learn more about Herpes and what are the chances of getting Herpes from an infected partner.

Understanding transmission

Herpes is typically transmitted from an infected partner through direct skin-to-skin contact, particularly during activities like sexual intercourse, oral sex, and kissing.

The virus can be present in genital or oral areas, making contact with these areas a common mode of transmission. 

In studies involving couples where one partner had genital Herpes, the other partner became infected within a year in 5 to 10% of cases.

It’s important to be aware of the potential for transmission, even in the absence of visible sores or symptoms.

Herpes infections are highly prevalent, with 50 to 80 percent of American adults having oral Herpes (HSV-1). 

Factors impacting Herpes transmission 

couple on bedSource: Syda_productions
Sexual activity
  • Sexual Contact: Genital Herpes is most commonly transmitted through oral, anal, or vaginal sex without the use of barrier protection, such as condoms or dental dams
  • Presence of Herpes Simplex Virus: Sexual contact with a person who has HSV-1 or HSV-2 increases the risk of transmission
  • Asymptomatic Shedding: The virus can be shed from normal-appearing oral or genital mucosa or skin, even in the absence of visible sores, which can contribute to transmission
  • Outbreaks: Herpes viruses are most likely to be transmitted during an outbreak, so it’s better to avoid sexual contact during this time
  • Reduced Immune Function: A compromised immune system may heighten the likelihood of Herpes transmission
Untreated Genital Herpes can cause painful sores, especially in those with weakened immune systems. Avoid touching sores or fluids to prevent spreading Herpes to other body parts, including the eyes.

Preventing the spread of Herpes in sexual relationships

use condomSource: Signature_images
Use condom

To prevent the spread of Herpes in sexual relationships, consider the following measures:

  • Use condoms: Use condoms consistently to prevent the spread of Herpes in sexual relationships effectively.
  • Keep your partners informed: Share your Herpes status with current and prospective sexual partners. Transparent and truthful communication is key in lowering the risk of transmission
  • Avoid sexual activity during outbreaks: Refrain from sexual activity when you or your partner have visible sores or other symptoms of genital Herpes
  • Take antiviral medication: Discuss with your doctor about taking daily suppressive therapy with antiviral medication, which can lower your chances of spreading Herpes
  • Limit the number of sexual partners: Having fewer sexual partners in your lifetime reduces the likelihood of exposure to the Herpes virus
  • Get tested for other STDs: If you or your partner suspect you may have been exposed to genital Herpes, consider getting tested for other sexually transmitted diseases as well
  • Avoid sexual activity while intoxicated: Alcohol and illicit drugs can impair judgment and lower inhibitions, increasing the risk of unprotected sex and Herpes transmission


In conclusion, understanding the chances of getting Herpes from an infected partner is vital for informed decisions in sexual relationships.

With over 3.7 billion people affected by HSV-1, communication and preventive measures play a crucial role.

Condom usage, antiviral medication, and awareness during outbreaks significantly reduce transmission risk.

Open communication with partners, hand hygiene, and limiting sexual partners also contribute to prevention.

Regular testing for STDs is recommended, emphasizing the importance of responsible sexual health practices.

By adopting these measures, individuals can navigate sexual relationships safely and minimize the spread of Herpes.

Recommended Article
Is it safe to engage in sexual activity while having Herpes? Read this informative article on Can Two People With Herpes Have Sex? Understanding safety to know more about it. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I date someone with Herpes without contracting it?

Yes, you can date someone carrying Herpes. Many couples avoid Herpes transmission by abstaining during outbreaks, consistent condom use, and antiviral therapy. Successful management is possible, allowing couples to maintain relationships without transmission concerns.

What’s the likelihood of getting Herpes from my partner?

Generally, women face a higher risk. Having other STDs, like HIV, increases transmission risk. In couples where one had genital herpes, the other got infected in 5 to 10% of cases within a year.

What’s the worst thing about having Herpes?

The first oral Herpes infection is typically the most challenging, causing severe flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes, and headaches. However, some may experience no symptoms. Sores can appear on and around the lips and throughout the mouth during the initial infection.

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