Saliva may contribute to a lowering of the infectious herpes simplex virus (HSV) dose during transmission and consequently abrogate infection or lead to decreased reactivation. To test this hypothesis, we assayed saliva for innate defense factors, immunoglobulin content, and the capacity to interfere with HSV infection. Serum or salivary anti-HSV IgG levels did not correlate with control of recurrent labial herpes (RLH) and were significantly higher in subjects with RLH compared with asymptomatic seropositive subjects. Although no differences in levels or output rate of innate defense factors between the groups were observed, the salivary neutralizing activity correlated with lactoferrin and hypothiocyanite concentrations in the asymptomatic seropositive group. Our results suggest that saliva contains factors, in addition to anti-HSV immunoglobulins, that neutralize HSV and may indirectly contribute to the control of RLH.