Question: My girlfriend just got diagnosed with Genital Herpes (HSV Type – II). We moved in together a couple of weeks ago and share towels as well as eating utensils. Is it possible that the herpes simplex virus may transmit by sharing towels or utensils?

Answer: It is certainly possible to transmit the herpes simplex virus to another person via objects such as towels, toothbrushes or eating utensils. It is worth stating that the herpes virus is capable of surviving outside the human body (unlike HIV) for a couple of hours, provided the conditions are suitable. Theoretically, it is possible for an individual to become infected with herpes without coming in direct physical contact with the genitals (or other infected areas) of an infected person. However, this type of transmission isn’t very common.

genital herpes

On the other hand, there are chances of transmission of the herpes virus from your lips to other parts of the body such as eyes. You should always try to avoid touching the sores regardless of how itchy they feel. I would also like to mention that open lesions (noticeable in case of herpes outbreak) are highly infectious, courtesy of the large number of active viral particles present in them. Therefore, if your girlfriend is experiencing a major outbreak and you share a towel, there are chances she might give you the virus.

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