How is herpes simplex virus contracted? Concerned about spreading herpes? Learn how herpes is spread and reduce your chances of spreading or catching herpes
by N J Howell
Genital Herpes is most easily spread when a sore is present, but, it is also often spread at other times too. Some people notice itching, tingling or other sensations before they see anything on their skin.
These are called "Prodromal Symptoms" and they warn that the virus may be present on the skin. Genital Herpes is most likely to be spread from the time prodomal symptoms are noticed until the area is completely healed and the skin looks normal again. Contact with the infected area (including oral, vaginal, or anal contact) is very risky during this time.
One kind of complication involves spreading the virus from the location of a herpes outbreak to other places on the body by touching the herpes lesions. The fingers, eyes, and other body areas can accidentally become infected in this way.
Preventing self-infection sounds simple.....just avoid touching the herpes lesions during a genital herpes outbreak. However, since herpes lesions typically itch when healing, not touching is a challenge.
Get in the habit of disinfecting your hands on waking in the morning whenever you have an outbreak.
If you do make contact with herpes lesions douring an outbreak, wash your hands as soon as possible with soap and warm water, or use hand sanitizer. This will help prevent the virus from spreading further.
The spreading of genital herpes through inanimate objects, such as soap, towels, clothing, bed sheets, toilet seats, and spa surfaces is highly unlikely because the herpes simplex virus cannot live very long outside of the body.
Herpes is not spread through vaginal fluids, blood or semen, or like a flu virus that you can get through the air, although it is of course possible for the body fluids to contact the virus during intimacy and so they can contain the virus that way.
As a rule, genital herpes is generally spread by direct contact - in other words, by touching a herpes lesion. However, it is possible for the virus to be transmitted even when no lesion is present, during the predomal symptom phase.
Learn more about how you can avoid specific situations most likely to put you at risk for herpes
Do condoms and foams protect against HSV?