[Question #7461] Oral Herpes Transmission

2 months ago

Hello,


One of my friends has oral herpes. About 2.5 weeks ago, my husband drank from the same plastic water bottle as her (thinking it was his). The water bottle was at room temperature.


My friend had her first outbreak 9 months ago and has not had any since.


I have a few questions about this:

  1. She did not have any cold sores at that point, however is there even the slightest chance that he may have caught the virus by drinking from the same water bottle? 
  2. I don’t remember how long after her did he drink (maybe a few minutes), would that have made a difference?
  3. I’ve seen Planned Parenthood say that you can’t catch the virus by sharing a drink (I’m guessing they were referring to a glass cup where saliva won’t last as long, not a plastic bottle). However there are other websites such as healthcentral.com and forhims.com that say that it is a possibility to get it through shared drinks/bottles. Please advise what’s correct and why the latter would say that. 
  4. Some websites also state that the virus can’t survive for longer than 10 seconds once exposed to air, however cdc and other reliable websites say it can last from a few hours to days. Which one of these is correct? And given it’s a water bottle that’s capped, isn’t there a higher chance of saliva staying there allowing the virus to survive longer?


I have read a few previous threads from your forum about similar questions. However given all the information from different websites, I no longer understand what’s correct and what’s wrong so I wanted to seek clarification. Thank you in advance for your help.

Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
2 months ago
  1. She did not have any cold sores at that point, however is there even the slightest chance that he may have caught the virus by drinking from the same water bottle? 
  2. The slightest chance?  well, maybe but highly unlikely - highly unlikely

  3. I don’t remember how long after her did he drink (maybe a few minutes), would that have made a difference?
  4. The virus can't live long on inanimate surfaces so the longer, the better

  5. I’ve seen Planned Parenthood say that you can’t catch the virus by sharing a drink (I’m guessing they were referring to a glass cup where saliva won’t last as long, not a plastic bottle). However there are other websites such as healthcentral.com and forhims.com that say that it is a possibility to get it through shared drinks/bottles. Please advise what’s correct and why the latter would say that.
  6. I tell people that they won't get herpes by sharing inanimate objects (except sex toys).  I agree with Planned Parenthood

  7. Some websites also state that the virus can’t survive for longer than 10 seconds once exposed to air, however cdc and other reliable websites say it can last from a few hours to days. Which one of these is correct? And given it’s a water bottle that’s capped, isn’t there a higher chance of saliva staying there allowing the virus to survive longer?
  8. I think it depends upon the volume of virus that is present on the inanimate surface.  If there is a lot of virus, perhaps it will live a bit longer.  10 seconds seems very short.  Days is way too long.  I really think the risk here is incredibly low if any
About half the US population has HSV 1 infection (the cause of cold sores) so I wouldn't be too concerned about this - it is extremely common and most infected people don't know they are infected at all.

Terri
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2 months ago

Hi Terri,


Thank you for your response. I’m getting a great deal of anxiety about the possibility and I’m not sure in which way to confirm that he did not get infected. Especially because he doesn’t know that our friend has oral herpes, and I don’t to worry him unnecessarily now unless there is a real risk.


Given the volume of false positives in HSV testing, I’m hesitant to go that route.


Could you please let me know:

  1. Have you ever seen/heard a case of anyone getting herpes through inanimate objects such as bottles and silverware?
  2. If theoretically there is the slightest chance to get it that way, like you said, what percentage possibility would you say there is?
  3. What is the likelihood of someone who has gotten oral herpes to definitely have an initial breakout? And in which timeframe would they get it by? 
  4. Since my husband has not had an outbreak in the 20 days since the incident, can that be conclusive enough that he doesn’t have it?
  5. If he were to get tested and get a negative result - how accurate are negative IGg results? Are false negatives also common?
  6. If you have oral HSV-1 or HSV-2 herpes, can you get the same type of herpes genitally too? If he’s infected, I’m worried I might get it both orally (through kissing) and genitally (through oral sex). Unless getting it in one place could help avoid getting it in another? Can it also be transmitted to breasts?


Just overall, in your experience - the volume of infection that can possibly get on/in a water bottle, is that generally sufficient in volume to infect another person (if used 2-3 minutes after)?


I know some of these questions might be far fetched given the low risk you mentioned but I’m hoping this information would put my mind at ease so I can move past this. Thank you again for your time, really appreciate the great service this platform provides.


Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
2 months ago
  1. Have you ever seen/heard a case of anyone getting herpes through inanimate objects such as bottles and silverware?
  2. Never
  3. If theoretically there is the slightest chance to get it that way, like you said, what percentage possibility would you say there is?
  4. Since I've never seen it, I don't have a percentage for you

  5. What is the likelihood of someone who has gotten oral herpes to definitely have an initial breakout? And in which timeframe would they get it by?
  6. We don't have that number, but IF someone was going to get symptoms with a new infection, the symptoms would appear in 2-10 days
  7.  
  8. Since my husband has not had an outbreak in the 20 days since the incident, can that be conclusive enough that he doesn’t have it?
  9. I would say that is very likely correct

  10. If he were to get tested and get a negative result - how accurate are negative IGg results? Are false negatives also common?
  11. The IgG test misses 30% of HSV 1 infections, compared to the gold standard western blot

  12. If you have oral HSV-1 or HSV-2 herpes, can you get the same type of herpes genitally too? If he’s infected, I’m worried I might get it both orally (through kissing) and genitally (through oral sex). Unless getting it in one place could help avoid getting it in another? Can it also be transmitted to breasts?
  13. It is extremely unlikely that someone who has oral herpes (HSV 1) would get it genitally.  People rarely get HSV 2.  Are you asking if someone has oral herpes can they transmit it to the nipples of someone who doesn't have it?  The answer is yes.
Terri
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2 months ago

Okay, thank you Terri.


Just want to clarify three things and we can consider this thread closed.


  1. How longer after being exposed to herpes orally will I no longer be at risk to get it genitally or on the nipples?
  2. Just overall, in your experience - the volume of infection that can possibly get on/in a water bottle, is that generally sufficient in volume to infect another person? 
  3. Would you say I’m worrying for nothing and can go on normally with my sex life?


Thank you for all you answers. Hopefully this can help me move on from this.

Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
2 months ago
  1. How longer after being exposed to herpes orally will I no longer be at risk to get it genitally or on the nipples?
  2. I think what you are asking is  how long after being infected orally will you no longer be at risk of acquiring this on the nipples or genitals, is that correct?  IF you get infected orally, I would say that after 3 months, you would be extremely unlikely to get herpes anywhere else on your body.

  3. Just overall, in your experience - the volume of infection that can possibly get on/in a water bottle, is that generally sufficient in volume to infect another person?
  4. No, it is not.

  5. Would you say I’m worrying for nothing and can go on normally with my sex life?
  6. I would say, yes, stop worrying and resume your sex life.  Infection for your husband in this way is just extremely unlikely
Terri

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