How Herpes Is Transmitted From Person To Person

When faced with a new partner or just seeing a relapse of herpes infection among the inner circle, many ask a fair question – how is herpes transmitted? Herpes infection, depending on the herpesvirus strain, can be transmitted in different ways. This is both airborne droplets and direct contact or infection through household items. But in order to understand this issue in more detail, you first need to understand what types of herpes infection are the most common.


Herpes infection is one of the most common viral diseases that is caused by several types of herpes viruses. The most common types of herpes are:

herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV 1), which causes labial herpes;

herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV 2), which causes genital herpes

the varicella-zoster virus, which causes chickenpox and shingles;

herpes simplex virus type 5, which provokes cytomegalovirus infection.

Science has proven that almost 90% of the world’s population suffers from herpes. At first glance, the disease does not pose a danger, and the majority of people treat it rather frivolously, perceive it as a temporary cosmetic flaw with some discomfort. But many still ask the question: is it contagious, is herpes transmitted from person to person, what are the ways of protecting the body.

In reality, herpesvirus is very dangerous in terms of its ability to affect both the nervous system, mucous membranes of the eyes, oral cavity and genitals, and the system of internal organs. In order to protect yourself from the danger of the disease, you must have a clear idea of ​​how the herpes virus is transmitted and what possible transmission routes are the most common.


Direct contact is the most common route of transmission of the herpes virus. Transmission occurs through close contact of a susceptible human body with a source of infectious disease.

Contacting can be direct or indirect. Herpes is transmitted through the touch of a healthy person with a virus carrier. Infection can occur not only at the stage of virus activity, the infection can also be transmitted from a virus carrier with a latent form.

Any tight touch of the skin during a handshake, wrestling, kissing or intercourse carries a real likelihood of infection.

The most frequent infection occurs with the following contacts, from most frequent to least descending:

From mother to baby. Usually, it is with this method that most people on the planet are infected with herpes infection, especially the herpes simplex virus. When a mother, with a relapse of the virus, even with an invisible manifestation, kisses the baby or licks a spoon, pacifier, the virus enters the child’s body through saliva. In this case, as a rule, herpetic stomatitis begins in children, and later relapses occur in the form of colds on the lips.

Through sexual intercourse. It is also one of the most common contact types of herpes infection. Usually, HSV of both the first and second types, and cytomegalovirus, which is herpes type 5, is transmitted sexually. It can be both direct sexual contact with a virus carrier, and oral sex, which often provokes infection with genital herpes, transmitting type 1 herpes from the mouth to the genitals of a healthy partner.

Through a kiss. Many people do not know that herpes types such as HSV types 1 and 2, as well as cytomegalovirus, are transmitted through kissing. Cytomegalovirus usually does not have special external manifestations, therefore, almost the entire population is infected with it, and HSV, as a rule, is transmitted at a time when the virus carrier has an exacerbation with visible rashes on the lips or herpetic stomatitis.

Skin contact, excluding the above transmission methods. With direct skin contact, for example, if cells of the virus are present on the fingers, after the infected person has touched herpes blisters on the lips or in other places, they can be transmitted through touching to other people.


When herpes is transmitted by airborne droplets, the virus is localized on the mucous membrane of the upper respiratory organs. Being on the oral mucosa, the herpes virus is released into the air during coughing, talking or sneezing, this happens with herpetic stomatitis. Infected droplets of mucus spread through the air in search of a new host.

With chickenpox, pathogens are in the air in the form of an aerosol and can be carried over a considerable distance. Infection of a healthy person occurs by inhalation of infected air, when the causative agent of the disease is introduced into his body.

Airborne transmission of herpes mainly refers to the varicella-zoster virus , which causes chickenpox disease. Children suffer from chickenpox, and the adult generation, with a relapse of the virus, suffers from shingles.


A person with herpes simplex type 1 or 2 can spread the infection to other parts of the body by themselves. Touching the rash on the affected areas in the phase of the virus activity, the infection easily penetrates the mucous membranes and damaged tissues.

Most often, in this way, the herpes infection is spread over the face when there is a relapse of a cold on the lips. When itching, a person combs viral cells and transfers them to other parts of the face. This usually provokes cold sores on the chin or cheeks.

One of the frequent lesions of the independent spread of the virus is herpetic panaritium (localization of infection on the fingers with herpes on the hands) and ophthalmic herpes (herpes in the eyes). Everything happens in the same way, the virus gets on the fingers when scratching, which can provoke felon. Or when you touch the eyes with viral cells on the fingers, the infection penetrates either the eyelid and the skin around the eyes, or the mucous membrane of the eye.


Infection occurs through the successful ingestion of the virus on household items. Any personal hygiene items as well as dishes, linen, towels, toys, doorknobs and other common objects can act as intermediaries for the transmission of infection . The herpetic virus is considered one of the most tenacious, but nevertheless, infection with herpes through household items is unlikely, although it is possible.

Summing up, it is worth recalling that herpes is transmitted by air much less often than through direct contacts. But this is not the case for the varicella-zoster virus, as it is transmitted through the air. It is necessary to understand that many people do not even suspect that they have a latent form of the disease, when there are no obvious signs of the disease, but a person is a carrier of the infection, especially for genital herpes. Therefore, you should always practice protected sex or ask a new partner to get tested.

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