Info For Teens
Ask the Experts
Can herpes be spread through sharing drinks and meals? Does a reoccuring painless rough patch on the lip an indicator of herpes?
You can’t get herpes from sharing drinks and meals.
Herpes is spread by touching, kissing, and sexual contact, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex. It can be passed from one partner to another and from one part of the body to another. Brief skin-to-skin contact is all that’s needed to pass the virus. Because herpes may have no symptoms for years, sometimes it is very difficult to know who passed it to whom.
Although it’s rare, genital herpes can also be spread from a pregnant woman to her baby during vaginal birth.
Herpes is most contagious when sores are open, moist, or leaking fluid — until the scabs heal and fall off. But herpes can also be spread when no symptoms are present — most people get genital herpes from people with no symptoms. And most people with oral herpes were infected as children.
The lining of the mouth, vagina, penis, anus, and eyes can become infected with herpes easily. Skin can be infected if it is cut, chafed, or burned, or has a rash or other sores.
When a person has oral herpes, “cold sores” or “fever blisters” can show up on the lips or around the mouth. These sores may also show up inside the mouth, but this usually only happens the first time oral herpes symptoms appear. Symptoms may last a few weeks and go away. They may return in weeks, months, or years. They are annoying but usually harmless in children and adults. But cold sores can be very harmful to a newborn.
Learn more about herpes.