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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.
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This answer was posted on July 9, 2015