A friend of mine suffers from Herpes (HSV) infection. He only told me about the same about 2 months back when we last met. Yesterday, at a restaurant he took a bite out of my burger twice. when I realized that he has told me about his condition and I confronted him, he told me that he has been actively taking medications as prescribed by his physician for the past 1 year so far and he was not having any active mouth sore at that time and the last time he had an outbreak was about a month ago so there is no need for me to worry. But, I'm worried now that by being careless, I may have contracted oral herpes. Just wanted to know:

  1. What are the chances of my contracting herpes from the above encounter?
  2. Are there any tests available using which there is a way to make sure?
  3. How long does it take from an infection to show actual symptoms and should I go for lab tests upfront or wait for symptoms?
  • 2
    Please note that we cannot answer personal health questions here. However, it would likely be helpful for future generations of Health SE users if you rephrase your question into something more general, like "Can herpes be contracted by sharing food?" or "How long after herpes infection do symptoms begin to appear?" or "How is a herpes infection diagnosed?" or even all of the above. By making your question general, and not related to your own personal health, you allow it to enrich the community with information, useful for anyone and everyone that may have the same questions in the future. Jan 10, 2017 at 11:14

2 Answers 2


This is certainly possible, however unlikely. It is also not possible to determine the probability that you would be infected.

The person have a visible infection at the time of the event. This would further reduce the probability of infection.

Symptoms can appear one to three weeks after infection.

Alternatively a blood test can detect if you are infected even before symptoms show.


It would be unlikely you catch herpes by sharing a bite or two of a hamburger with an infected person in remission. It's so unlikely that if (hypothetically) you did test positive for herpes (and it was your first time to test) that the positive exposure could have occurred from any number of situations that happen repeatedly in daily life. That's because the infection rate of herpes is so high, and the number of people who harbor it unknowingly is so high.

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