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Questions about herpes transmission and skin contact

I'm still pretty confused about the definition of "skin to skin" contact.

How brief or prolonged must contact be for transmission? Is it possible to contract herpes via skin contact that is NOT intercourse? for example, genitals touching multiple times during mutual masturbation, can it be passed this way?

I read that the transmission rate for a single exposure from a herpes infected partner is only 1 in 1000 (0.1%), is this true? how does a virus with such a low transmission rate become such a common STD, it doesn't make sense.. confusing

in summary, how likely is transmission from a herpes infected partner via mutual masturbation if there is also genital contact?
3 Responses
15249123 tn?1478652475
In the absence of lesions. Brief contact is not a real risk. Either is mutual masterbation. Is it possible? Maybe but I agree with most experts who say this isn't a risk. Either way the odds are astronomically low. Yes any single exposure is low risk and the thing you need to remember is the folks most at risk are the ones in a relationship where their partner has hsv. It's funny but I can't recall anyone I have ever consulted getting hsv from a one night protected exposure. This includes escorts. To answer your last specific question. The odds are so low you shouldn't be worried. Brief contact and mutual masterbation is LOW risk if any.
Hsv is not a super contagious infection. It takes it penetrating a membrane or thin skin. That's why Intercourse or oral sex is the big risk. Friction and viral load.
so it takes more than just brief contact to transmit as there needs to be friction involved to produce micro tears in the skin?

and 1:1000 transmission statistic is accurate? it seems so rare at 0.1%, but so many people have the infection, how is that?
15249123 tn?1478652475
Yes to your first question.

Those stats are for a single exposure (one night stand) the more exposures to a positive partner the odds go up. There was a study done with twenty couples. In each couple one person had hsv2 the other did not. They averaged unprotected sex at least three times a week. The study took place over an entire year. No condoms or antiviral meds. The only protection was avoiding sex during an outbreak. At the end of the year only one couple passed the virus to their partner.
Think about how much sex happens country wide in a single day. The rate of infection is extremely low in comparison. If it was a super infectious virus we would all have it
Now, certain areas and demographics are more concentrated with the virus. I read a study where in certain urban areas 50% of African American females had hsv2. It's all in the context.
Thanks for the detailed response! that is surprising information, I always assumed it was very contagious.

Do you know if HSV1 is any more or less contagious? since it's more prevalent in the population and spread via kissing (which would produce less skin friction than intercourse).

and lastly, due to the low probability of a one time encounter and not experiencing any symptoms of lesions or sores etc, it's probably safe to assume you are not hsv2 positive? i've read first time outbreaks are usually the most severe and hard to miss

Sorry for all the questions. I really appreciate you taking time to answer, it's very helpful. Thanks.
15249123 tn?1478652475
Hsv1 is more prevalent because most people get it as a small child. This is from being kissed by a relative with hsv or from other children at day care...etc.
Kids are more susceptible due to weekend immune symptoms and thin easily penetrated skin. When you hear not to share drinks and utensils it's more for children as adults would rarely contract it that way. Lipstick and chapstick are a no no because of the direct massaging it into the lip. This is only a factor if someone used it right before you..
Hsv1 is also becoming really popular as a genital infection from oral sex. About 50% of new genital infections are hsv1.

I agree with your last statement slash question. The odds are all in your favor that you did not contract hsv from your exposure
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