No. Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) – the virus causing most cases of genital herpes – cannot survive long on a non-living substance like a toilet seat or hot tub. HSV-2 is most often passed by vaginal sex and anal sex. Oral sex can also transmit the disease. Important: We hope you find this general medical and health information useful, but this Q&A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. For all personal medical and health matters, including decisions about diagnoses, medications and other treatment options, you should always consult your doctor. See full Disclaimer .
One issue that seems fuzzy to a lot of us who have herpes is whether it can be transmitted to or by hands. It’s an important question, since the hand is one part of the body that never gets protected during safe sex. (Hand condoms? For some reason I just don’t think it would catch on.) Not to mention that someone with herpes will inevitably touch oneself on or near the infected area and should know the risks of autoinoculation.
In general, HSV-1 and -2 can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, but typically only where mucous membranes or cuts in the skin are present. For those who don’t know, a mucous membrane is a lubricating lining that covers a passage between inside the body and outside. The most well known mucous membranes are in the genitals and the mouth. By exposing a hand to the genitals of someone with genital herpes, or the mouth of someone with oral herpes, there is little chance of infecting the ha...
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