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If Someone With Herpes Has No Sores, Can It Still Be Passed On?

Medically reviewed by: Amy W. Anzilotti, MD

If someone has herpes but no sores, can it still be passed on to another person?
– Spence*

Yes. Even when no sores are present, the herpes is still active in the body and can spread to others.

If you or your partner has herpes, reduce the risk of spread by:

  • using a condom every time you have sex (vaginal, oral, or anal). The herpes virus can live outside of the area that a condom covers, though, so a condom may not always prevent the spread.
  • avoiding sex during outbreaks (herpes is much more likely to spread during outbreaks)
  • making sure the infected person takes antiviral medicine every day as prescribed by the health care provider

The only way to completely prevent herpes and other STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) is to not have sex (oral, vaginal, or anal).

  • *Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
Medically reviewed by: Amy W. Anzilotti, MD
Date reviewed: November 2018