Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Can I Transmit Herpes To People I Live With?

Dear Dating with Herpes:

I was just diagnosed with H today. Its still all sinking in, but overall I think I'm taking it well. Of course its just the first day so we'll see. As a 27 yo, I've been one of those dudes who thought he was invincible and that I couldn't get an STD. Anyway I have a ton of questions... most importantly, I live with my folks and don't want them to transmit H to them. Any advice would be great. Thanks!!

Prodigal Son

Dear PS:

The herpes virus is very fragile and can only be transmitted by skin-to-skin contact when the virus is active. You may wonder if someone can get herpes from a toilet seat that you just sat on. However, there are no proven cases of getting herpes from a toilet seat. According to the Mayo Clinic, "It's very unlikely that you would get genital herpes from a toilet seat. Most sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are transmitted only during sexual contact, either by skin-to-skin contact or through exchange of bodily fluids. The microorganisms — bacteria and viruses — that cause STDs such as genital herpes tend to be sensitive to their surroundings and can't survive outside the human body on a surface like a toilet seat for very long."

If you have HSV1 (usually associated with Oral Herpes), you should know that most people already carry that particular strain of herpes which is usually acquired in childhood from kissing. Only occasionally do people have symptoms (cold sores) so it's pretty benign for most people. Some people have more frequent symptoms because of their immune system or stress, etc.

If you have HSV2 (usually associated with Genital Herpes), around 25% of all adults in the US already have it, and for most people, the symptoms are mild and infrequent and lessen over time. There are many couples where one person has herpes and the other does not.

In any case, good hygiene is a great idea, especially when you are having an outbreak. Soap and water kills the virus, as well as just being exposed to the open air. You can't spread herpes in a swimming pool or hot tub - unless you're having sex with someone there. So you shouldn't worry about your parents getting herpes from the toilet, bathtub, sink or shower. If you want to be extra sure - go ahead and clean up after yourself for the mental security it will give you. But really, as long as there's no incest going on, your parents are safe!


1 comment:

Bill said...

I found some interesting information about Herpes Zoster here. Check it out!