Chances of Getting Herpes

What are your odds of getting herpes? Your odds of contracting herpes depend on a number of factors.


  • Condoms are effective at reducing the transmission of genital herpes (HSV-2).
  • The risk of your partner being infected affects your risk of contracting herpes. Your partner needs to have herpes to pass it on to you.
  • The type of activity you engage in influences your chances of contracting herpes (HSV-1 or HSV-2). Oral, vaginal, and anal sex can all transmit herpes.
  • Whether or not your partner is having an outbreak influences the risk of getting herpes. Outbreaks increase the risk significantly.
  • If your partner takes anti-viral medication, it can reduce the chances of transmitting herpes.
  • Whether or not your partner has an active outbreak influences whether it can be transmitted more easily.
  • How frequently you have sexual activity can influence your risk of becoming infected with genital herpes.
You can assess your risk for contracting herpes and other sexual infections by doing a detailed risk assessment using STD Risk Calculator.

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What are the chances of getting herpes?

Your chances of contracting, or catching, herpes depends a lot on the variables that our calculator covers. But your odds of getting herpes from an infected person that is actively shedding or has an active herpes rash is roughly 75-80%. This is your risk for contracting herpes when not using a condom. Your odds of getting herpes from someone who does not have herpes is 0%.


What are odds of getting herpes from oral sex?

Your chances of getting herpes from oral sex are similar to your risk of getting herpes from vaginal or anal sex. While HSV-1 (oral) and HSV-2 (genital) tend to stay in their regions, it is possible to transfer oral herpes to the genitals through oral sex. It is also possible to transfer genital herpes to the mouth through oral sex. While less likely, both strains of herpes can manifest in the genitals, the mouth, and around the anus.


I used a condom, what are my odds of getting herpes?

Your odds of getting contracting herpes while using a condom are greatly reduced compared to your odds of getting herpes without a condom. However, unlike other STDs, herpes can not be fully prevented from the use of a condom. Most herpes outbreaks or shedding do occur where a condom covers the rash. But that does not null your odds. Pre-condom contact can transfer the HSV-1 and HSV-2, leaving some chance for getting herpes with a condom.


Knowing your odds of catching herpes is good, but knowing if you have herpes should be your goal. Visit our STD testing partner to get your herpes test today.


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