How Do People Get Infected?
HSV-1 infections normally take place during childhood, and the infection stays with you for the rest of your life. It is mainly transmitted by oral-to-oral contact, by having contact with sores, saliva, mucosa, or areas around the mouth. It can also be transmitted to the genital area when there is oral-genital contact, such as that seen during oral sex. Do cold sores mean you have an STD? As mentioned earlier, HSV-1 can and is most commonly spread through other means that do not involve sex.
Whether or not you are asymptomatic, you may still transmit the infection to other people. This is possible through contact with oral or skin surfaces that may or may not appear normal (with or without sores). But the highest chance of transmitting the disease to someone occurs when you have active sores.
HSV-1 can also be transmitted from a mother with a genital HSV-1 infection to her infant during delivery, causing neonatal herpes. This is however a rare circumstance. If you are experiencing symptoms of herpes or suspect you may have the infection and are expecting to deliver your baby soon, please inform your doctor. They may do interventions to prevent the spread to your baby during delivery.
Do Cold Sores Mean You Have an STD?
So, do cold sores mean you have an STD? The short answer is no. Your symptoms are most likely caused by Herpes Simplex Virus- . Since it is an infection caused by HSV-1, most people would assume that it is an infection contracted through sexual contact. But that is not the case for a majority of the time. As mentioned earlier, a large population of people has HSV-1 and most of these infections occur during childhood, not exclusively during sex.
In contrast, HSV-2 is commonly contracted through unprotected sexual intercourse.