Theoretically, you can transfer a type one herpes virus (the cold sore) to your own genitals, during the first (primary) infection when the viral shedding was very high and your immune system was very vulnerable, but....that is not very likely. I have to say that the way you probably got genital herpes the old fashioned way: through sexual contact. Auto-innoculation (giving it to yourself) is something that is biologically possible, but extremely rare. I have never seen it.
Some people with herpes are surprisingly oblivious. I have conclusively diagnosed many people with herpes who thought they just had a rash or a sore area from the rubbing of clothing. It is even possible, and scientifically proven, that herpes can be transmitted even when the partner does not have an active or obvious outbreak. Most of the people who get herpes were not aware that they were exposed since their partner -- sometimes, their ONLY partner, did not have a clue they had it.
Will you have it for life? Yes, unfortunately, but the number of outbreaks could be quite infrequent (or not). The body's immune systems usually does a great job keeping herpes at bay. You should inform any partner that you have it regardless.
There are some good antiviral drugs, if taken regularly, that can reduce the outbreak incidences and the amount of viral shedding that could affect others. Talk to your medical provider about it.
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