[Question #486] Can you?

44 months ago
This is going to sound absolutely ridiculous, but I was wondering if you could get herpes from a towel?

Two weeks ago I went to my friends house and went to use the bathroom. There was no toilet paper, so I stupidly used a towel that was sitting on the counter to wipe. Literally 5 minutes later, my vagina was sore, almost like when you get a yeast infection. I just brushed it off and thought it was due to using the towel. The next day, it was still sore and a little itchy. That's when I knew I for sure had a yeast infection or something. It went away a couple days later.

Instead of googling and getting all kinds of answers, I thought I would come to the most knowledgable people. The towel was damp and now I'm a little scared. 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
44 months ago
While we do encourage people with herpes not to share a hot, wet towel immediately after a shower with someone who is uninfected with herpes, there are no documented cases of anyone getting herpes through a towel. 
In your situation, I am going to assume that no one had just used the towel, that it was dry and cool, not hot and wet, correct?  Also the time from infection with herpes to symptoms is at least two days - not five minutes.  I would bet one million dollars or more that you did not acquire herpes from using a towel to dry after using the bathroom. 

Terri
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44 months ago
So, basically this sounds like I should not be concerned about this situation and that you essentially cannot get herpes from a towel?

I think the towel was damp, unfortunately. Literally 5 minutes later I began to get a yeast infection. This started Saturday.. By Monday I took monistat and it started to clear up. After a day or two the symptoms were completely gone. So I don't know if I got some kind of fungal infection or what? 

Can you get STD's from a towel?

I know these questions sound ridiculous, sorry.
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
44 months ago
Yes, you should not be concerned at all about this situation.  I cannot think of a single infection or condition that would be caused by the towel except perhaps a sensitivity to the detergent used to launder the towel? 

Terri
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44 months ago
Thank you for your advice, Terri. You have been extremely helpful! 

Last question:
Even if the towel was damp, could I contract genital herpes this way by using it to wipe? 

This situation just freaked me out and seemed very odd to me. It was the first time I ever had a yeast infection or something of the sort, which is why I'm so concerned. 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
44 months ago
No, I honestly think you have no risk here.  First, the person who used the towel would have had to have had herpes, then having an outbreak at the time, then have just exactly right before used the towel to dry their genitals vigorously with an outbreak, then you would have had to come have come along immediately afterwards and found the place on the towel that had the virus - then the chances that the virus would be alive are very close to zero, then- then rubbing your genital vigorously.  I don't believe for one second that all of this happened.  Not at all.

Terri
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