MELBOURNE: If you think a kiss is just a kiss, you might want to think again, for the simple pleasure now comes with a health warning-it can cause herpes. The Australian Herpes Management Forum, which is to start an awareness campaign, has warned that a kiss is a major transmitter of herpes. The symbol of affection “poses risks to both adults and children”.
“No parent kissing their child or partner kissing their girlfriend wants to pass along the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), but people should be aware this is the main method of transmission. Once you have been infected with HSV-1 or HSV-2, the virus stays in your body for life and can reactivate at any time,” the Australian media quoted AHMF’s Executive Director Tricia Berger.
“If you have a herpes sore on or near your mouth, it is likely that you’ll pass the virus along to whomever you kiss. It is also possible to transmit the virus even when there are no apparent sores or symptoms, but the risk is higher when the sores are visible,” Berger said.
HSV-1 is the variant of the virus otherwise referred to as cold sores. It is commonly acquired as a child from contact, often a kiss, with adult relatives.
Berger said the herpes risk posed by kissing would be the main theme of a new community service awareness campaign. Television and radio ads will be aired nationally from August up to National Herpes Awareness Day, in October.