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Genital skin concerns
Posted on: 07/08/2008
My roommate has herpes. I'm not sure what type as I didn't get a chance to ask her. I recall her saying something about "small probability of passing it on" and "lips." However, I'm certain she has them on her genitals because she told me. My question is: Am I at risk? Can I become infected by means of the toilet seat, loofas, towels, cups, eating utensils, etc.?
Without direct person-to-person contact, it is very difficult to transmit herpes--but not impossible. I assume from your message that this is the "mouth sore" or "fever blister" kind of herpes and not genital herpes. (Genital herpes is even more difficult to transmit without direct contact.) The best way to avoid this in the roommate setting is to avoid sharing eating utensils, cups, toothbrushes, etc, which involves mouth contact. Towels, toilet seats and other indirect contacts I would worry much less about.
It is quite common, though, which is evidence that it's hard to avoid, as 60-70% of adults have been exposed to and infected by this herpes virus at some time (you probably have already, too!). Not all of us who have the virus have sores or outbreaks, however. An excellent source of information about herpes and other sexually transmitted infections is the American Social Health Association website, www.ashastd.org.