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Old 10-05-2002, 05:07 PM   #1
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Can you get herpes from social contact?

can you get herpes from regulat contact say some one has it on there thumb and you shake hands with them can you get it or what if you wash your hands after ? How can youprotect your self from it? thank you

 
Old 10-05-2002, 10:26 PM   #2
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Re: Can you get herpes from social contact?

Occasionally people get it on their hands, but it's fairly rare. To protect yourself, be sure you wash your hands regularly.

But I want to ask if you if you're worried about this in general, or if you know someone who you think has herpes on their hands? If you're concerned about a particular individual, that's one thing, but if you're just generally worried then I don't think you need to be concerned. Casual social contact isn't usually prolonged enough, nor is there usually usually enough skin-to-skin contact, for transmission to take place.

In order to contract herpes, (1) the person has to be shedding the active virus at the time of contact (which happens a small percentage of the time in general), (2) there must be skin-to-skin contact with the area of skin on the person that is shedding the virus (which will be the hands for only a very small percentage of people who have herpes at all), and (3) the virus needs to enter your body in some way (like a scratch or other puncture of the skin).

If you have a particular person in mind, then perhaps you've seen sores on their hands (common OB sites are around the fingernails, I believe, for those who have it in that area at all). Perhaps you're worried that you might catch it by shaking or holding hands. If you know the person well, you might talk to them about it. If you don't know the person, you might want to avoid shaking hands when you see symptoms. You could use as an excuse that you're coming down with a cold and don't want to infect them by shaking hands.

I hope this helps! That's my sense about it. Maybe someone else has other information....?

TheOneInFour<p>[This message has been edited by TheOneInFour (edited 10-06-2002).]

 
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Old 10-06-2002, 07:41 PM   #3
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Re: Can you get herpes from social contact?

Hi and thank yuu for your repsonse. No I dont know anyone with those symptons but I have to admit that I am getting sorta of paranoid about it. I read about it and the percentage of people that have it and dont know that they are infected. Then i have been seeing a million commercials for the treatment and even though I am in a mongamous relationship I stil dont understand how even if 2 people have never had herpes or a cold sores that they can give it to one another? My sister gets cold sores when she gets stressed out but I dont think she has ever had herpes. I am just a little confused about that .

Thank you

 
Old 10-07-2002, 07:56 PM   #4
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Re: Can you get herpes from social contact?

Well it's good to hear that people are becoming more aware of herpes but it's sad to hear that it's just scaring and confusing you without informing you too. But it does get a bit complicated so some of this will be a bit over-simplified.

First of all, cold sores *are* herpes; specifically (usually) Herpes Simplex Virus Type-1 (HSV-1). It's very similar to genital herpes (HSV-2) so there's little difference between them. Because of the stigma associated with genital herpes (which is usually transmitted through sexual contact), "cold sores" or "fever blisters" are not always called "herpes" but they are, usually refered to as "oral herpes."

Oral herpes is usually contracted from kissing family, relatives and friends, and is usually caught in childhood, so it doesn't have the same stigma attached to it. However, they are also very contagious and can be transmitted to mouth or genitals during sexual contact. So what starts out as oral herpes can become genital herpes for the other person through mouth-to-genital contact.

I know this is confusing. <IMG SRC="http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/round.gif"> What you need to remember is that it is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact with an area that is shedding the virus (in your sister's case, the mouth) but it's highly unlikely to get through casual contact. I don't think there is a documented case of it being caught from a toilet seat, for example, although you could get it by kissing someone who has it on their mouth and who is in a contagious phase.

Second thing: A big part of the confusion and difficulty with herpes is that you don't always know when you're contagious. Not everyone gets outbreaks (blisters, rash, etc.) or other symptoms (flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph glands, itching or tingling at the outbreak site, etc.). In fact, most people who have herpes don't realise they have it because they don't get symptoms (or no symptoms that they recognise as being herpes.) However, about 50-80% of the population has oral herpes, and about 1 in 4 people has genital herpes. (hence my nickname)

If you have herpes, though, you have it for life. There is no cure. You can control the symptoms to varying extents (that's the treatments you hear about) but you always have it and can potentially pass it on to others. Most of the time (for most people) the virus is dormant and the person is not contagious, but sometiems the virus becomes activated (which may or may not result in a blister) the person can be contagious.

If you really want to find out if you have it, you can take a blood test but it won't tell you *where* you're likely to be shedding the virus when it's active. However, if you're in a monogamous, committed relationship and neither of you gets outbreaks, I wouldn't worry about being diagnosed.

I hope that helps! I know it's complicated, but I hope this helps a bit. There are some great sites around that have good information about it, as well as the posts on this forum of course.

TheOneInFour

[This message has been edited by TheOneInFour (edited 10-07-2002).]<p>[This message has been edited by TheOneInFour (edited 10-07-2002).]

 
Old 10-09-2002, 12:12 PM   #5
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Re: Can you get herpes from social contact?

Thanks so much for clearing that up for me. I have read a book by Tracy Cox a sex theaprist and she has a lot of her book dedicated to infections and so forth but it was still confusing.
You however have done a great jon thanks again!

 
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