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National Cervical Cancer Coalition

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2007 2:46 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2007 2:26 pm
Posts: 2
I used to understand that the herpes virus only survives outside of the body for several minutes and under optimal conditions it could potentially live for 2 hours outside of the body. However, I came a cross an article in the New York Times where a Dr. in CA claims it can live on certain objects outside of the body for up to 72 hours (the link for the article is ... es%20Virus). I was wondering if there is any truth to this or if it has been proven false since the article was written nearly twenty years ago. I'm curious since my roommate occasionally gets cold sores so I was just curious if I'm at risk of contracting the virus from an inanimate object in our house.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 6:25 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:47 am
Posts: 5443
Location: PA
This is actually the study from 20 years ago that many toilet seat cover manufacturers still quote when you tell them they are being alarmists at saying you should use those paper covers to prevent the spread of herpes!! Yep folks still remember it even though it has little bearing on actually transmitting herpes.

So can the virus live on surfaces for longer than a few minutes? It sure can but the issue is - there's a difference between being able to detect the virus on surfaces and it still being able to be transmitted. The herpes virus thrives at body temperature. You take it away from body temperature and it starts to become unstable. It really is a fairly fragile virus. Once it's started to become unstable - it's not likely to be transmitted to someone. Also it takes more than just coming in contact with the virus to contract it - it takes some heat and some friction in order for the virus to be transmitted into the body. So your roommate could drink out of a glass and leave it on the counter and 20 minutes later you could grab it thinking it was yours, drink out of it and it's not going to be an issue. Any virus on it isn't likely to be transmitted plus you are missing the heat and friction part of transmission. As adults - we are most likely to contract oral herpes from good ole fashioned making out - not from sharing drinks or touching objects that others have touched before us ( or even those quick social pecks we sometimes give ). Our immune systems work very well for this once we are adults :)

Even though you seem to not recall ever having a cold sore yourself - that doesn't mean you don't already have hsv1 orally. The majority of folks who have hsv1 orally don't get obvious cold sores. Statistically 1 out of every 2 1/2 people you've kissed in your lifetime has had hsv1. Just a little something to keep in mind the next time you find yourself worrying that your roommate might give you oral herpes ;) Chances are good that one or both of your parents have it too.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 8:43 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 3:46 pm
Posts: 7
Betsy, I love your style. Thanks for keeping it real!!

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