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Survival outside the body

Hey there, so I would just like something clarified as Ive seen many times on this site that herpes doesn't live long outside the body and pretty dies right away, making hand transmission impossible. However, I see on this medically reviewed article that it can live for 2 hours on the skin, and to not touch anything until you've washed yours hands.


Ive seen this kind of information in multiple places. Can you touch on this please? There seems to be a divide in that info..Thanks
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207091 tn?1337709493
So to break this down -


"Herpesviruses isolated from patients with oral lesions were found to survive for as long as two hours on skin"

That's from oral lesions, the virus was isolated from the lesion - in controlled studies - and they studied it in controlled settings.

Also, "as long as". It doesn't mean it will last for 2 hours.

Once any virus is exposed to air, it will begin to degrade. Think of when we first started with covid, and it was recommended that we let mail sit for 2 days, and we wipe our groceries, etc., etc. Then we found out more and more about it, and realized that we didn't need to do that because it was airborne and the virus degrades enough on surfaces to not transmit that way.

So when you give a handjob, a few things matter - first, the skin on your hands is too thick for the virus to infect. If there is virus on your hand, after the movement, the exposure to air, time, touching other things, etc., it degrades enough that it is unable to infect anything.

Effectively, it dies and is unable to infect.

If you touch an outbreak, don't touch your eyes or mouth or nose immediately after. That's all you need to worry about.

Helpful - 0
Thanks for your well thought out response. I checked out the link you gave me but it really just says the same thing as what I gave you. If its able to live that long on skin, but doesn't always, then what circumstances would allow to live that long and why would it be noted in articles if it was so uncommon to do so?

Also, I appreciate the other info you gave me on how very small things like simple movement, touching things and even air can make the virus incapable of infecting, but I don't see that specific info cited anywhere. Does there happen to be studies that prove that the virus would work that way? That implies the HSV is pretty weak.

Also, when you say those things, how long would you be talking? If I gave an infected person a hand job, then touched my myself moments later (5-10 minuets) are you saying that all of it would be gone?

Thanks again for your time
Some sources like to cover all their bases, and list things that could be theoretical risks, even if they have never caused a single transmission ever.

Every virus has its own way of transmitting. I mentioned covid and surfaces - here's some info on covid and surfaces - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/science-and-research/surface-transmission.html

It gives some basic info on how covid transmission on fomites (objects that are likely to carry infection, like clothes, furniture, utensils) and how things like time, air, movement affect it.

Herpes isn't airborne like covid is. It needs direct skin-to-skin contact to transmit it, usually a mucous membrane, though it can be broken skin.  https://www.ashasexualhealth.org/five-things-you-should-know-about-herpes/

What you are talking about needs direct contact with an outbreak - with the highest viral load - not just shedding.


If you are so concerned, then wash your hands after giving a handjob. Don't give a handjob to anyone with a visible sore (this is very reasonable).

I can't give you a time frame - everything is very different each time. Do you immediately get dressed? Do you rub your hands on sheets? If your partner ejaculates on your hand, do you go wash it? What's the temp in the room? The humidity? Do you wipe it with a tissue?

It's also reasonable to wash your hands after. Maybe lube is involved, saliva, semen - wash your hands.

You want specifics and absolutes that no one can give you.

If this is bothering you so much, then maybe don't give handjobs.

If you want specific studies, you'll have to find them yourself. I answer these questions on my own time as a volunteer, and don't have a lot of time to do so.

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