There is more public awareness about herpes these days, and people who don’t have it, are wondering how you get herpes, and what they can do to avoid getting it. And people who have recently got herpes often are not sure how they got it, and wonder about the different ways that you can get herpes. Also, many people have heard that you can get herpes from hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms, towels and toilet seats. This article addresses all of these issues.
First, I will address all of the possibilities that do not include sexual contact. It is possible to transfer the virus through non sexual contact, though this is the least likely method of transfer of the herpes virus. To understand why, you need to know the characteristics of a virus. The herpes virus needs a host to survive and multiply to cause an infection. They get their “nourishment” or “food” from the fluids in a warm body. Outside of a body, the virus can temporarily survive for a brief period. This period of time can be only a few seconds, or up to about 4 minutes under ideal conditions. Ordinary soap kills the herpes virus. So if you use a towel after someone else with herpes has used it, there is only a very small chance that you would become infected. Presuming the other person used soap there would be very few if any viruses on the towel. As the viruses start to die within seconds, the odds of you getting infected start diminishing right away. Regarding hot tubs, chlorine kills the virus, so there is little chance of you getting infected in a hot tub is chlorine is used.
Here is a scenario where you might get herpes through non sexual contact, and it could apply to toilet seats, or the benches in a sauna or steam room, or sitting on the edge of a hot tub that is not chlorinated. First, someone with herpes would have to sit down, and through sweat or urine, “leak” some viruses from their genitals or an open wound. Then, you would have to sit in the same spot, almost immediately, and have a cut or open wound that the virus could enter through. The use of swim suits would make this almost impossible. The odds of it happening are very remote indeed.
Kissing or oral contact can spread herpes. Herpes could enter you through a cut or through the mucus membranes of your mouth or genitals. This means that oral sex can definitely spread herpes.
This brings us to the final possible way that you can get herpes, and it is through vaginal or anal intercourse. Intercourse like this is by far the most likely way of getting herpes. The kinds of herpes that people are most concerned with are vaginal herpes, penis herpes and anal herpes. Using condoms will reduce the risk of these kinds of herpes, but not eliminate the risk completely.
You can also get herpes on your arms, legs, abdomen and buttocks as well as your face. By noting the different ways that you can get herpes, you can gain some peace of mind, and also plan your life regarding activities around hot tubs, steam rooms, saunas and the use of towels.
If you do get herpes, it does not mean that your sex life is over. Having sex with herpes is the topic of another article, but suffice it to say that learning how to prevent outbreaks is a big part of having a good sex life if you or your partner has herpes. Now you know the key to being happy with herpes.