Can I Catch Herpes Simplex Off Towels, Cups, Or Anything?

There are several ways to transmit the common sexually transmitted infection, herpes. Herpes (genital and oral) is a widespread infection that affects millions throughout the United States. It is easily transmitted, if not careful.

Contagious Infection

Herpes is highly contagious because once it reacts with skin it begins to copy itself and multiply. It is spread through kissing, anal sex, oral sex and vaginal sex. It is the combination of skin-to-skin contact with bodily fluid contact that makes it easy to contract. One out of every five people live with type 2 of the herpes simplex virus, some are not even aware of having it because they either show no signs or very mild symptoms that are confused with something else, like jock itch or hemorrhoids.

Can Towels or Cups Transmit Herpes?

Contrary to popular speculation, herpes simplex cannot be transmitted by towels, cups or very many other things. Unless it is skin-to-skin or sexual contact, it is not possible to transmit the disease in other ways. It does seem likely that it would be possible via sharing cups because of saliva, although it is not. The herpes simplex virus is vulnerable on any surface other than skin and needs to have contact with skin to stay alive. Once it leaves the skin it dies instantly. Therefore, bathtubs, toilet seats and other surfaces cannot carry the disease but still can have other types of bacteria, but not related to herpes.

What Increases the Risk?

The following factors increase the risk of contracting genital herpes in most cases.

  • The higher number of sex partners you have. The risk increases with each person added. Not being aware of his or her sexual history can be risky. You should not assume the person immediately trustworthy, as having sexual contact can lead to the development of genital herpes.
  • Having high-risk partners. If your partners have had multiple partners or those who have been infected with the herpes simplex virus.
  • Having unprotected sex, a condom should always be used for prevention.
  • Having an impaired immune system. An impaired immune system is caused from alcohol and drug abuse withdrawal, diseases like HIV, diabetes and cancer; some medications also weaken it. Chemotherapy also weakens the immune system and can be accounted for as a risk factor.
  • Women are more likely to contract the disease and if they have it are more likely to have longer lasting symptoms. It is easier for a male to give a female the disease than vice-versa. A female's genital area is more likely to contract the disease than a man's.

Currently, there is no cure for genital herpes, although it is not fatal but can interrupt people's lives. There are treatments that will relieve symptoms but people who contract it still have to cope with it. It is important to know the signs and risks of it and to be careful when having sexual contact with others, since there is no way to get rid of it completely.


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