2 doctors weighed in:

Can cold sores be spread to the genital area? Is it possible for someone with cold sores to cause genital herpes in another person?

2 doctors weighed in
Dr. John Thaler
Dentistry - Prosthodontics

In brief: Yes !

If your "cold sores" are the herpes virus, then they are very contagious.
They are spread by contact. Yes you certainly can cause them in oral and genital areas. Additionally, you can spread them to your eyes. Once you have them, they are forever. Treatment of symptoms include oral and topical medications. See your doctor for these.

In brief: Yes !

If your "cold sores" are the herpes virus, then they are very contagious.
They are spread by contact. Yes you certainly can cause them in oral and genital areas. Additionally, you can spread them to your eyes. Once you have them, they are forever. Treatment of symptoms include oral and topical medications. See your doctor for these.
Dr. John Thaler
Dr. John Thaler
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Dr. Laura McMullen
Pediatrics

In brief: Yes,

Yes, it is possible.
Cold sores or fever blisters are caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (hsv-1) and are extremely common. Most people become infected as an infant or small child when kissed or by sharing eating utensils with an adult who has the virus. 20% of the cases of genital herpes are also caused by hsv-1 thought to be infections from oral-genital contact. The virus is most contagious when someone has a cold sore, but can still be passed along by someone who does not. Many people do not even know that they are infected because the virus can "hide out" in the nerve cells for very long periods of time - for some people it hides out forever and they never get a cold sore. For others, the virus can "wake up" at any time and that's when a cold sore happens. No one knows exactly what causes a cold sore to appear - sometimes stress, illness, fevers, colds, sunlight, cold weather, menstruation, certain foods, allergies, you name it! they usually last 7-10 days and are more of an annoyance than a danger unless you have a weakened immune system or contract a bacterial infection on top of the cold sore. Legal disclaimer: I am providing this general and basic information as a public service and my response to this question does not constitute a doctor-patient relationship. For any additional information, advice, or specific concerns, please speak with your own physician. The information provided is current as of the date of the answer entry.

In brief: Yes,

Yes, it is possible.
Cold sores or fever blisters are caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (hsv-1) and are extremely common. Most people become infected as an infant or small child when kissed or by sharing eating utensils with an adult who has the virus. 20% of the cases of genital herpes are also caused by hsv-1 thought to be infections from oral-genital contact. The virus is most contagious when someone has a cold sore, but can still be passed along by someone who does not. Many people do not even know that they are infected because the virus can "hide out" in the nerve cells for very long periods of time - for some people it hides out forever and they never get a cold sore. For others, the virus can "wake up" at any time and that's when a cold sore happens. No one knows exactly what causes a cold sore to appear - sometimes stress, illness, fevers, colds, sunlight, cold weather, menstruation, certain foods, allergies, you name it! they usually last 7-10 days and are more of an annoyance than a danger unless you have a weakened immune system or contract a bacterial infection on top of the cold sore. Legal disclaimer: I am providing this general and basic information as a public service and my response to this question does not constitute a doctor-patient relationship. For any additional information, advice, or specific concerns, please speak with your own physician. The information provided is current as of the date of the answer entry.
Dr. Laura McMullen
Dr. Laura McMullen
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