[Question #6508] Herpes transmission - outside of body and auto-inoculation

17 months ago

Hi doctors,


Thank you for your amazing service. I have returned after a long time due to being diagnosed with genital herpes. I am extremely sadden to be infected with this virus from the previous encounter even with condom but I assume it was the unprotected oral sex that got me. My questions relate to transmission to family members and friends. I was told I might be infected from my previous encounter a few months back so I could of carried herpes for a few months now before getting tested. I know you might say transmission might be low but I want to ensure my family will be safe.


My questions are:

  1. I have been using tapes and bathroom with my family so can I transmit to them as I am currently having blisters on my genitals and I do touch them when I use the bathroom such as tape and toilet. Is it safe or do I disinfect them after each use using antibacterial wipes and sprays?

  2. What about auto inoculation? I didn't realize for a while that I had herpes and I thought it was just a rash so I continue with normal activities. When I touch my genitals and then touch another part of my body such as showering and then drying with a towel, if it touches another part of the body such as back or legs, will it spread herpes all over or is this impossible?

  3. Do I have to wash my hands a few times with antibacterial soap after using the bathroom as I currently have blisters on the head of genitals? I don't want to infect my family so I have been washing my hands up to 10 times a day.

  4. After using the bathroom, I have used antibacterial wipes to clean the toilet as to not infect my family. Is this overboard or is this considered standard practice? 5

  5. Does the genital herpes virus go through things like pants and underwear? Do i need to wash anything that touches my pants near the genital area as to disinfect from the virus. Things like my phone charger and USB cables have touched my pants near the genitals so i usually use antibacterial wipes to clean them before use. Is this too much.

    Thanks for your help.

17 months ago
can someone please reply. Its been a day and no response.
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
17 months ago
Answers are normally posted within 48 hours. 
  1. I have been using tapes and bathroom with my family so can I transmit to them as I am currently having blisters on my genitals and I do touch them when I use the bathroom such as tape and toilet. Is it safe or do I disinfect them after each use using antibacterial wipes and sprays?

Herpes is not transmitted through sharing the toilet, but I don't know what you mean by tapes?  No need to disinfect the toilets after use, no

  1. What about auto inoculation? I didn't realize for a while that I had herpes and I thought it was just a rash so I continue with normal activities. When I touch my genitals and then touch another part of my body such as showering and then drying with a towel, if it touches another part of the body such as back or legs, will it spread herpes all over or is this impossible?

Autoinoculation happens almost exclusively during a primary outbreak when the immune system has not yet recognized the herpes infection.  If you touch a lesion directly, just wash your hands - the soap and water will destroy any virus that's around on your hand.

  1. Do I have to wash my hands a few times with antibacterial soap after using the bathroom as I currently have blisters on the head of genitals? I don't want to infect my family so I have been washing my hands up to 10 times a day.

This is not necessary and is in fact not a good idea.  Wash your hands with soap and water after using the restroom and that is sufficient

  1. After using the bathroom, I have used antibacterial wipes to clean the toilet as to not infect my family. Is this overboard or is this considered standard practice? 5

Overboard

  1. Does the genital herpes virus go through things like pants and underwear? Do i need to wash anything that touches my pants near the genital area as to disinfect from the virus. Things like my phone charger and USB cables have touched my pants near the genitals so i usually use antibacterial wipes to clean them before use. Is this too much.

    Thanks for your help.

Herpes virus does not go through pants and underwear.  This is NOT a concern at all.

How exactly were you diagnosed with herpes?

Terri

---
17 months ago
Hi Terri,

thanks for your response.

I was diagnosed as blisters started showing up around the head of my penis. They have not become sores and does not hurt but white stuff comes off them. My GP has said i have herpes so im going to do a full std test next week to see if i have anything else.

In regards to the questions, when i say tapes, i meant taps or handles on bathroom sinks. do i need to disinfect them after i was my hands or use tissues to cover the handle? I live with family so exposing them is a real concern.

My other concern would be sleeping. If i sleep and roll around, will the virus go all around my clothes and bedding, possibly causing auto=inoculation? I know it sounds stupid but my anxiety is high right now.

finally do you know how long the herpes virus survives on surfaces such as clothes, door handles, tissues or any general household items? If you can give me as much detail here, that would be great.

Thanks
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
17 months ago
It is simply not possible to diagnose herpes in this way.  This sounds very much like candida balanitis to me but that's a guess - you should look up those pictures online.  Please - do not accept this diagnosis without a laboratory test to confirm this.  Herpes rarely just presents on the head of the penis - usually the shaft is also involved and herpes would present as sores and are most often at least tender if not outright painful.  You are asking lots of herpes questions but you have not had a legitimate diagnosis and I'm very concerned about the visual diagnosis that you've had so far.

you do not need to worry about handles on bathroom sinks or bedding or clothes.  The herpes virus does not live off the human body for very long at all - it needs living human cells to live and heat and moisture  and the volume of virus in the situation that you describe is not sufficient to infect someone else. 

Terri
---
17 months ago
ok thanks for that.

so i guess i don't need to worry about herpes on my thighs and body as it will die quickly. Any time frame for the life of the virus?

I have my std test next Tuesday do will be back if i need clarification.
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
17 months ago
The life span of herpes off of a lesion depends on  many factors - temperature, moisture level, amount of virus present, surface on which it is found.  There is no simple answer here.  I'm wondering if you looked up candida balanitis. I hope when you get an STD screen, you include herpes antibody testing. The CDC says every visual diagnosis should be accompanied by a lab test - this didn't happen for you.

Terri
---
---