How Is Herpes Simplex Caught & Passed On?

There are various ways that you can catch the virus. There are also some false myths that have gone around since the herpes was discovered.

Transmission of Herpes

There are two types of herpes, type one and type two (type one causes sores above the waist and type two causes sores below the waist) and they are both transmitted the same way. Any of the following ways can allow the spreading of herpes from one person to another:

  • Sexual intercourse (anal and vaginal)
  • Oral sex
  • Kissing (oral sores)
  • Skin-to-skin contact

How Herpes is Transmitted

When in contact with someone who has the herpes simplex virus, it is easy for you to transmit it, even if they aren't experiencing any outbreaks. A lot of the time, those who are carrying the virus (usually type one), they won't even know they have it until they infect someone else who then has the symptoms. Parents can pass the herpes virus along to their children through kissing. The children who transmit it usually experience the outbreaks during adulthood.

When do you Experience Symptoms?

Sometimes, when the virus is contracted, it lies dormant for longer than usual (normally is about two to 20 days) because your immune system is blocking it. Other times, when you are infected again by the virus, it will finally activate an outbreak. When the symptoms develop relies on the individual and their health. Those who have immune system deficiencies are the most at risk of getting multiple outbreaks. Research shows that the first attack of a herpes outbreak is usually the worse because the body doesn't know how to fight the foreign bacteria.

Can the Herpes Virus Transmit through Inanimate Objects?

This is one of the myths about transmission of herpes. People think that toilet seats, towels, wash cloths, bath tubs and swimming pools can spread the herpes virus. This is not true. The virus can't survive long on dry cold surfaces and water disperses the virus. To possibly transmit the virus from a solid surface, you would have to have an open wound touch the exact spot where the virus was left behind. You would also have to do this within seconds of that person leaving it there.

No Outbreaks, No Transmission

This isn't true. Research shows that transmission of the virus can occur even when the person isn't experiencing an outbreak. The skin can still shed the virus, especially where a sore just healed. The main cause of the transmission of herpes is because the person infected doesn't know they have it. The virus is lying in their body dormant or the symptoms are so mild, they go unnoticed. This is called a asymptomatic transmission.

Pregnancy and Herpes

When a mother has the herpes virus, she can contract it to her baby while going through the birth canal. The best option may be to have a C-section. Babies can also transmit the virus through kissing or direct contact. Older children and adults aren't in danger of the herpes virus, but for babies it can be deadly.


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