First off, good for you for taking charge of your sexual health…it’s always best to ask for information, rather than make assumptions the might result in potentially serious health risks.

But don’t fear a good-night kiss.

Rest assured, catching a sexually transmitted infection through kissing is extremely unlikely…with a few exceptions.

Avoid kissing anyone with visible cold sores on the mouth area as type 1 herpes (HSV-1) can be transmitted through kissing. However, most of us have been exposed to this virus by the time we’re in grade school…in fact, about half of the U.S. population carries the virus, often transmitted through a non-sexual kiss from a relative.

And many people have HSV-1 without ever having cold sores, so they’re not even aware that they have it. One study, published by The New England Journal of Medicine, showed that 2-9% of adults and 5-8% percent of children with HSV-1 have no symptoms. If you also have had cold sores, you won’t catch them again from someone else.

What about HIV? That depends on the type of kissing. Closed mouth “pecks” don’t pose any risk of transmitting HIV. There is, however, a remote risk that HIV could be transmitted from an HIV-positive person to an HIV-negative person through prolonged French kissing…and only if there are open sores or bleeding gums present. It is recommended that people who are HIV-positive avoid deep kissing because of this.

If you’re still concerned about whether you might have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection, you might wish to consider getting tested for common STDs on a regular basis.