Herpes Expert Forum
Herpes transmission to children?
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Welcome to the Herpes forum. This forum is for questions and support pertaining to herpes simplex virus infections (HSV-1 and 2) and herpes zoster (shingles) and the virus that causes it, varicella zoster virus. Questions about genital herpes are welcome both here and on the STD Forum.

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Herpes transmission to children?

Dr. Hook,

I have had genital herpes for many years and my husband has remained negative. I am not on suppressive therapy because I get outbreaks very infrequently. I am very anxious about giving this to my children via sharing toilets, towels, or showers/bath tubs.  

I have a few questions about transmission...when I called the CDC hotline for info they told me that "there has never been a reported case of transmission in these ways but it is theoretically possible".  Why would they say this if everything I have read says that HSV is not transmitted via tiolet seats, etc.?

During an outbreak, is there viral shedding over areas that do not contain lesions?  For example, if I have a lesion on my labia, can I leave the virus on a toilet seat via my buttocks?  If my daughter then sits on the toilet seat and accidentally rubs her genitals on the seat, is there a risk of transmission?

If so, how long does the virus live on surfaces?

Am I much more contagious because I am not on antiviral medication?  What are the percentages of transmission?

I would love to receive a very detailed response please. Thank you very much!
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The CDC probably phrased it that way because none of us are willing to say with absolute certainty anything about herpes.  But they are correct - no cases of transmission have ever been documented via inanimate objects.  

Viral shedding occurs from the genital area, where the skin is very thin and the virus can off easily.  Virus is NOT shed from thick skin surfaces, like the buttocks or thighs.  The skin is too thick for the virus to get to the surface of the skin.  Virus can come off the thick skin when there is an actual outbreak in these areas.  

The data is mixed on how long the virus can live on inanimate surfaces, but the question about that should also be how much virus can live on surfaces and then how able would it be to infect someone else.  

Yes, you would be less infectious if you were on daily antiviral therapy.  

However, since virus is not shed from the thighs or buttocks I think being on antiviral therapy would not change the picture with your concern about infecting your children.  I have NO concerns about you infecting your children.

Terri
3 Comments
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Thank you very much for your thorough response.  I have one other question... I know that soap kills the herpes virus but would the dryer on highest heat setting also kill it?

Thanks again!
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I'm honestly not sure how hot dryers get.  

Terri
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