Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection that is caused by types 1 and 2 of the herpes simplex virus. It affects approximately 45 million people in the United States. Genital herpes is extremely contagious and causes painful sores on the genitals and the area surrounding it that can last for weeks without treatment of any type.
How Herpes is Spread
Herpes is spread in a variety of different ways. It can be spread through skin to skin contact, but mainly is prevalent on the mouth or genitals; as other skin on the body is too thick for the virus to get through.
Type 1 is spread by kissing, since it is oral herpes. But it is also spread when oral sex is performed, but turns into genital herpes for the other person. Type 2 is spread through sexual contact, having sexual intercourse, anal or oral sex.
Reduce Your Risk
To prevent yourself from getting either form of highly contagious herpes, you should not have any type of contact with a person with an outbreak of herpes. This can include cold sores, blisters, and sores on the genitals.
If your partner has oral or genital herpes, do not have sexual contact with him or her when an outbreak is present. Also, know how to protect yourself when no symptoms of an outbreak are present. The infection can still be spread at that time. Condoms and dental dams are forms of protection that can reduce the risk of contracting the infection which can be used while no symptoms are shown and if you decide to have contact during an outbreak. However, condoms and dental dams do not fully protect against it because they cannot fully cover all of the areas that can be contagious.
Toilet Seats are not Transmitters
Type 2 of the herpes simplex virus, (genital herpes), is not able to live on a non-living surface, such as a toilet seat, hot tub, or bathtub. Therefore, it is not possible to contract herpes from any of those objects.
The virus that causes herpes is very delicate and it cannot live long or at all on such surfaces. It requires skin-to-skin contact or bodily fluid contact through sexual encounters in order to live and multiply.
Everyone who is sexually active has the possibility of getting herpes. The risk of getting it increases with age and with the number of partners. It is always best to talk to a partner and know their sexual history and to get tested before getting involved sexually. It is also a good idea to agree to become monogamous with your partner once sexually active due to the risk of herpes and other sexually transmitted diseases.
It is impossible to get genital herpes via toilet seats, but it remains important to take these precautions so you do not get it unexpectedly as you would if it were able to be transmitted from non-living surfaces.