How is Herpes Transmitted

Posted by in Herpes Facts, Herpes Q&A

Transmission of HSV

Transmission of HSV-1

Herpes is caused by the HSV virus, which can exist as HSV-1 or HSV-2. The HSV-1 infection occurs through interactions with other infected people in daily life and activities. This could include sharing the same plate and utensils or sharing a lip balm or even kissing an infected person. This kind of infection tends to spread more quickly during an outbreak of sores in the infected person. HSV-1 can also cause genital herpes, if the person going through the condition has sexual activities at the time of the outbreak.

Transmission of HSV-2

HSV-2 is more often the cause of Genital Herpes. It is contracted through sexual contact with a person who has HSV-2. It is contracted when the person comes into physical contact with the sore of the infected person.

Cold Sores and Genital Herpes

HSV-1 usually causes Cold Sores. They show up on the lips of the person and also in the mouth, the face and even inside the nose. However, these cold sores can also occur elsewhere in the body, such as the genital areas. On the other hand, HSV-2 typically causes genital herpes. It spreads by sexual contact and the sores are generally seen in the genital areas. However, both types of viruses can cause the sores in any part of the body.

Causes of Cold Sores or HSV-1

HSV-1 is very common and most often small kids pick up the infection. They are more likely to get it when an adult kisses them or if they share common utensils or other things in a day care center and so on. The person suffering from HSV-1 infection does not always have symptoms of sores, but the virus remains latent in the body, without a cure. The virus moves into the nerve cells and remains dormant there, waking up every now and then leading to a recurring infection. This recurring infection could be caused by stress or fever or even sunlight or cold weather, flu and so on. The sores start recurring in the area where it first occurred and the blister then dries up after a few days, leaving behind a scab.

Preventing Transmission

People having cold sores or HSV-1 should always wash their hands if they have touched the sore. They should also avoid touching their eyes afterwards. The fluid in the blisters is very infectious. They should not share toothbrushes, cutlery, glasses, towels and other personal items. They should avoid kissing children and should not come into close contact with newborn babies.

Genital Herpes

This is typically caused by HSV-2, but a person having HSV-1 with cold sores can transmit the virus to another healthy person causing genital herpes. Genital Herpes is an STD and can result in sores in the genital areas. It is transmitted through sexual activities and from unprotected sex. It can also spread through the saliva and can cause sores in the mouth as well. However, the virus cannot survive outside the body, so the infection cannot be transmitted through a toilet seat or so on.