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hi i have HSV1 & 2 . and i live with two room mates and share the kitchen, utensiles, share food with them and washroom. will i infect them with HSV. and in our culture hugging is a common way of greeting and am scared i will be passing the infection to people. i also help cook in the community kitchen and am afraid i can infect the people i am cooking for and have been avoiding my best. please advice


We don’t see the herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 1 or 2 passing with the type of activities you describe. HSV type 1 is most commonly found on the mouth (cold sores) and HSV type 2 is usually on the genitals but with oral sex we can see HSV type 1 on the genitals and HSV type 2 on the mouth.

HSV passes best when there is skin to skin rubbing for a period of time. E.g. kissing. Genital to genital rubbing when having sex.  It is also a fragile virus e.g. you have a cold sore and you accidently touch it with your finger, washing with soap and water would destroy the virus on your fingers.

It wouldn’t be the best way for HSV to pass when going to an item and then to the other person but this can happen if something was shared straight away. Below are some examples of this.

Example with cold sores (HSV type 1 ) would be if someone shared something in the mouth like lip balm, lip stick, sharing cigarettes, etc... It’s a good idea not to do this anyway especially when working in community kitchen as things like cold virus which survive much better can be passed if things like utensils are shared. 

Genital HSV would only be passed with skin to skin rubbing and contact with the genitals, given this we don’t see it getting passed in non-sexual social encounters. I guess it could be possible if someone had a warm moist towel and was rubbing the genital and someone used it straight away.

Have a look at our HSV web page for more information.

Please leave a comment to let us know if this answers your question or if you need more information.

Health Nurse

For other readers, please feel free to leave a comment, or let us know if this was helpful.

This answer was posted on July 9, 2015

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