[Question #6854] Nonsexual herpes transmission

10 months ago
Hi terri, just a few questions that I need risk assessments on,

1. I was over at my friends house sleeping on the floor and my friend was standing over me talking to me and he was drunk so he was slurring and spitting while he was talking. I felt his saliva land on my lower back between my shirt and my pants. Is there any genital HSV 1 transmission risk here? he also managed to spit on my face while he was talking to me, and then I wiped my face and went to the restroom and touched my genitals a few minutes later. are either of these means for genital herpes transmission ? I feel like it wouldn't be possible due to lack of viral load or sexual contact but let me know what you think. 

2. I went and cuddled with a girl I had just met and fingered her. I was fully clothed wearing a shirt, underwear, and jeans, but the jeans had holes where my both my knees/lower shin is on each side. if her legs/thighs were rubbing against my knees, is this risk for genital herpes transmission or not because it was at my knees and below? She also lifted my shirt up for a moment and touched my stomach with her hands, and I'm not sure if she had bodily fluids on her hands from touching her vagina. Is her touching my stomach momentarily a risk? 

3. How long would somebody elses bacteria live on your lips after you kissed them? Do you have to worry about wiping your face after kissing somebody and then touching your own genitals? I know kissing is potential for oral herpes transmission, but what if you kiss someone and then you wipe your face with your hands and touch your genitals afterwards?


Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
10 months ago
1.  I do not think this is a risk factor for HSV 1 transmission, no.  COVID 19 yes, HSV 1, no
2.  This is not a risk for herpes either
3.  The scenario that you present is not a realistic risk for genital herpes acquisition either.  Herpes is a virus so I think you mean how long can virus live on your lips and that's a while, but normally people lick their lips quite a bit and might well lick off any virus. I appreciate your coming to our forum to get the correct information about herpes transmission.

Terri
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10 months ago
Thanks Doc ! So just to clarify on my first question, both his salvia landing on my back and my face and me wiping my face and touching my genitals are both no risk for transmission ? 

And hey Terri, I test negative for HSV 1 -and 2 after 3 months of no sex and am aware of the sensitivities of the IGG tests. 92% for HSV 2 I would consider pretty much conclusive but the 70% for HSV 1 kind of freaks me out. I get recurring folliculitis on my butt and thighs and it gives me a lot of anxiety about a potential genital HSV 1 infection, how do you think I should go about dealing with this? I’m in close contact with my dermatologist and he says everything is just folliculitis and not an STD as he let’s me email him photos. If I have folliculitis on my bottom recurringly, should I be worried about STDs and checking each and every lesion? I kissed tons of girls before becoming sexually active as a teenager and shared stuff with friends all the time so given my negative results, could I either assume I’m not infected at all or am orally infected as I’ve never had any general outbreaks or sores and just get folliculitis? Also have only received oral sex a few times in my life before from 2 different partners. 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
10 months ago
You should not be worried about recurring folliculitis - I think that almost every male patient I've seen in my career has had some pimple or folliculitis on the buttocks.  Many people worry about these skin conditions - could this be herpes?  But I've seen lots and lots of buttocks herpes in my career and it's actually quite troubling.  The blisters, because they are occurring on thicker skin, are deep, almost always painful and slow to heal and often leaving scars.  I don't think that's what we are talking about with you, right? 
If you are very worried about your HSV 1 status, you could always obtain a herpes western blot.  It picks up about 95-96% of HSV 1 compared to 70% for the IgG test. 
And no, I have no worry about saliva landing on your back and face and then touching your genitals.  Not enough virus present and simply not the right kind of contact.
I hope this helps with your worries.

Terri
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10 months ago
Thanks Terri! I really appreciate all of your sound advice. No, none of my folliculitis is ever painful. Sometimes if you get a bigger one on the buttocks and you sit down you'll feel a slight itch or discomfort and you can feel it's there, but that's when I check with my derm and either go in or send him a photo so he can make a visual diagnosis, and it's always folliculitis or minor skin irritation. Usually I don't feel any of them. Just tiny little dots (maybe a mm or two) with a white head or just little red dots on the buttocks and thighs. usually the ones on my thighs will have a hair sticking out and are pretty recognizable; its the butt that's hard because you cant turn around and see it so If im getting a flare up I check in with him. I just feel like I shouldn't be checking each and every little pimple I see. Any guidelines you can give me on when to get a lesion checked?  I'm on antibiotics for it and washing with antibacterial soap so hopefully it gives me a break. But point taken on herpes on the bottom presenting rather significantly and painfully compared to folliculitis. 

Just one more thing I wanna clarify as this is my last reply. For my third question on my first post about wiping your lips with your hands after kissing somebody and then going to the bathroom and touching your genitals, isn't that pretty similar to my first example about how my friend accidentally spit in my face and i wiped my face and used the restroom? Say if i kissed a girl and wiped my mouth and touched my genitals afterwards a few minutes later using the restroom or something, that's still no risk due to not enough viral load? Because the virus is either licked off the lips or would die on your hand? how long approximately can HSV 1 live on your hands? Do you have to worry about touching inanimate objects that have been touched by other people who have a coldsore and could have the virus on their hands from touching their face or also not enough sufficient viral load?

Thanks for all of your help Terri and for being available during such a crazy time! I so appreciate it. At this time no western blot for me because I won't know whether its oral or genital if i test positive for HSV1 and would just have to assume unless i get a cold sore or lesions. So with my negative IGG tests, I think it's safe to assume that I either don't have an HSV 1 infection at all or it is oral like the majority, given my history of kissing dozens of girls before ever having any sex as a young teenager and sharing stuff with people who have had cold sores in the past. I think it's crazy that this means most people (anyone who hasn't taken the western blot) do not have a definite answer to their HSV 1 status unless they've had apparent sores. I'm just going to continue to be responsible and make sure to check out any lesions with my derm that worry me.

10 months ago
Oh, and forgot to add what if a girl kisses your stomach/chest? Is that risk? Or if you’re shirtless at a pool and you hug somebody in a bathing suit or no shirt ? 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
10 months ago
I would agree that you should not have to worry about every single little pimple that you see, that's correct. 
As to your question about wiping your lips with your hands after kissing someone and then touching your genitals.  There is simply nowhere near enough virus present in that scenario to infect anyone.  Not a risk at all, promise.  You do not need to worry about touching things that someone with a cold sore has touched.  This virus needs bigger viral loads, moisture, human cells and warmth to infect someone - that's why it is transmitted to mucous membranes via sex and kissing. 
I don't feel that you need a western blot at this time, agreed.  You are on the right track!

Terri
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