There is a great deal of confusion on exactly how herpes is spread. This is surprising because so many people are affected by this virus - 60 million people in the United States alone.
Here are some important points to remember concerning the herpes virus:
* The herpes virus requires a human host cell in order to live. This makes the herpes virus very fragile. The virus dies almost instantly when outside of the human body.
* The herpes virus is spread through direct skin-to-skin contact. In order for the virus to be spread an uninfected person must touch the infected skin of a person carrying the virus.
* The herpes virus is not spread through vaginal fluids, semen, or blood.
* The herpes virus can be spread with or without the presence of symptoms. The symptoms can be so mild as to be mistaken for other conditions like yeast infections or jock itch. The herpes virus periodically makes its way to the skin surface through a process called asymptomatic viral shedding.
* The herpes virus is most frequently spread by a person with active sores.
You cannot catch genital herpes through any of the following:
These are all popular myths concerning how herpes is spread. The fact of the matter is that there have been no documented cases of genital herpes infection from public toilets, swimming pools, or hot tubs. Again, the herpes virus dies quickly when exposed to air or the chemicals in swimming pools and hot tubs.
The herpes virus can survive for a little longer in certain wet environments so it is important to take precautions. Always keep a protective barrier between your skin and any public wet surfaces. For example, if you are using the sauna at your local gym be sure to place a towel between your skin and the public seating surfaces. Also, it is a good idea not to share bath towels because they provide a moist environment for any potentially present herpes viruses.
These are the only ways to spread genital herpes:
Here are some examples of how herpes is spread:
If you are infected with genital herpes then you should consider yourself contagious from the time symptoms are first noticed until all of your sores have completely healed. Avoid all sexual contact during this time.
Here is a list of the warning signs to look for before an outbreak occurs:
Every person is different and will experience a different combination of these prodromal symptoms. After having genital herpes for a while you will get better at spotting these signs of an impending outbreak. They usually appear a day or two before the other physical symptoms of an outbreak such as sores, lesions, and blisters.
It is also useful to know how the virus makes its way into a human host. Skin is actually a very protective barrier and is good at preventing the herpes virus from entering. But there are other areas of the body that are not as difficult for the herpes virus to access. The virus most easily enters the body through the soft pink tissue lining the mouth, anus, and genitals. The herpes virus can also easily enter the body through any tears or breaks in your skin. What this means is that you can feel safe if you are using your hands to sexually stimulate your partners genitals. However, if you have a cut or abrasion on your hands then this would not be a good idea as the tear in your skin could allow the virus to enter your body.
When someone first becomes infected with genital herpes a very common fear is that the virus will spread to other parts of your body. It doesn’t help that there are many frightening picture available online which show herpes infections on the hands, arms, chest, and eyes.
First, these types of infections are rare and most commonly occur in persons with compromised immune systems.
Also, if you have had genital herpes for more than a few months then your body has begun producing antibodies to fight the infection. These antibodies are very effective at preventing the herpes virus from spreading to other parts of the body.
If you have recently been infected with genital herpes then be sure to avoid contact with the infected area during outbreaks. This can be hard as these areas tend to itch and beg to be scratched.
If you do make contact with an infected area of skin be sure to wash you hands with plenty of soap and water. You can also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to kill any viruses.
Also, remember that the virus likes to enter the body through tears, cuts, abrasions, and other breaks in your skin. So if you have a cut or chapped skin on your hands be extra careful to avoid contact with the infected area.
Summarizing, here are the important points to remember on how herpes is spread:
For more information be sure to download the Herpes Dating eBook. It is the only book written specifically for people dating with genital herpes. Inside you will find information on the following topics: