Question: My friend was recently diagnosed with herpes simplex virus. According to his doctor, he might have contracted the virus through kissing or sexual intercourse with an infected person. My biggest worry is if the herpes simplex virus is contagious.

Answer: Herpes is a contagious disease that can be acquired through various ways, for example, contact sport, kissing and sexual contact. While some people notice the symptoms 7 days after contracting the virus, there are those who experience breakouts 40 years after the initial contact. To learn more about herpes simplex virus, keep reading this article to the very end.

What Is Herpes Simplex Virus?

In order to understand whether the herpes virus is contagious, let’s first of all define what herpes simplex virus is. There are generally two forms of the herpes simplex virus. These are:

-          Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV 1).

-          Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV 2).

The herpes simplex virus belongs to the same group of virus that is responsible for triggering chicken pox.


HSV 1 triggers minute, clear blisters which are also commonly referred to as oral herpes, cold sores or fever blisters on the skin. Cold sores are quite common on the mouth or lips. Then again, cold sores can occur in any part of the face such as nose. Recent studies have discovered that cold sores can appear as a group or individual spots. Whenever the sores pop up, they are commonly referred to as herpes outbreak.

Wrestlers in high schools and colleges have been known for developing herpes blisters around their shoulders and the spinal area. The outbreaks are normally triggered by coming into contact with an infected person or through virus-contaminated rugs. Other athletes who have been known to pass the HSV 1 to others are rugby players. Tiny herpes simplex virus type 1 referred to as herpetic window, have been found to pop up on the fingers, particularly in children who have the habit of biting their finger nails. This type of herpes is usually passed from the mouth to the hands.


How Common Is the Herpes Simplex Virus?

The two types of herpes viruses are quite common. As a matter of fact, it is estimated that roughly between 50% and 80% of grown-ups in the US are carriers. A majority of people come into contact with the viruses when they are aged 30. The number of people suffering from genital herpes in the United States is pegged at 1 million. CDC estimates that the number of carriers is set to rise as the numbers of sexually active people increase. The study which was carried out by the CDC also goes on to state that there is 1 in every 5 adolescent as well as adults with herpes. This in turn translates to 45 million people in the US with HVS.

Is the Herpes Simplex Virus Contagious?

From the information given so far, one can confidently say that herpes is contagious. The virus can be transmitted through physical contact, kissing and sexual intercourse.


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