Re: How contagious is type 1 genital herpes?
The two types (HSV-1 & 2) are very, very similar in all respects and are both equally and highly contagious in skin to skin contact of whatever nature, DURING AN OUTBREAK. In other words, when the sores are open, they 'shed' the active virus which then bores its way into the skin of the next victim.
There is much less chance of infection when there is no outbreak but that cannot be entirely excluded.
There is a theory around that taking oral acyclovir to suppress outbreaks actually conceals the shedding so increasing the risk of infection. It may have the cosmetic benefit of avoiding the sores around the mouth but leave the possibility of virus activity without the sores.
If acyclovir is taken immediately the characteristic warning signs of an outbreak occur, the same result can be achieved but the sufferer at least knows they are shedding the virus over the next 3 to 4 days.