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I have contracted herpes HSV 1 on my penis and some of my fingers. My girlfriend has HSV 1 (cold sores) on her lip. Can I infect my girlfriend's eyes if my cum gets on them, if so how likely is this? Can I infect my girlfriend's face if my cum gets on it, if so how likely is this? After I take a shower sometimes the towel stays damp for a while. Should my girlfriend avoid touching this towel? Can herpes HSV 1 live on damp surfaces, if so does temperature of the damp surface matter? Should I always use a fresh towel for each shower to avoid spreading to other body parts?

Hi

HSV 1 is the most common form of herpes and is usually passed by direct skin-to-skin contact.

3 to 4 months after  first getting HSV, the body makes antibodies that give good protection.  Because your girlfriend already has HSV 1, and has had it for a while, it is unlikely that you can  pass it to her again.

If you were to pass HSV to another part of your body, it most often happens in the first 3 - 4 months after you first get HSV. During this time your body is developing resistance to HSV. During this early time It is especially important not to touch the herpes sore and then touch another part of your body. If you do touch a herpes sore, you can wash with soap and water to kill the virus.

HSV can be in cum (semen) and it is possible to pass it to a partners eye's ( but your partner already has the virus in her body so that should not happen). However, the most common way to pass HSV is by skin-to-skin contact. The HSV is on your penis and fingers, so contact with those areas is the most likely way you would pass it on. 

Moisture and temperature do make a difference to how long the virus survives on a surface outside the body. HSV can survive for a short period on surfaces such as warm damp towels. It is best not to share towels and it is a good idea to use a fresh one, when you have an outbreak.  

For more information check out our page on herpes and the links to other resources on the bottom of the page.

Please leave a comment to let us know if that 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 April 16, 2018

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