Can You Get Herpes from Sharing a Drink?

There is a significant amount of stigma surrounding herpes, especially oral herpes since others can clearly see it. However, oral herpes is very common, with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimating that 47.8 percent of adults in the United States have HSV-1, the virus that typically causes oral herpes.

Despite oral herpes infecting the mouth, it is very rare, albeit not impossible, to contract herpes from sharing a drink with someone who has oral herpes. Even though it is unlikely, it is best to avoid sharing drinks with someone who has herpes to protect yourself from this possible mode of transmission.

What Is Herpes?

Herpes is a sexually transmitted virus spread through close, intimate contact, such as oral, vaginal, or anal sex.

There are two forms of the herpes simplex virus: HSV-1 and HSV-2.

HSV-1 is typically associated with oral herpes, although some people do have this form of herpes on their genitals due to receiving oral sex from someone with oral herpes.

HSV-2 is more commonly associated with genital herpes, but some people have an HSV-2 infection in their mouth from performing oral sex on someone with genital herpes.

Can You Get Herpes from Sharing a Drink with Someone?

While it is unlikely to get herpes from sharing a drink with someone, it is possible.

This is because oral herpes (from HSV-1 or HSV-2) can cause the herpes simplex virus to be present in saliva. When saliva is left behind on a drink, someone else can become infected when they share the drink and the infected saliva enters their mouth. 

However, if the person infected with herpes is not going through an outbreak or does not have an active sore, it is very unlikely for the virus to spread through a glass, drink, or straw. Still, it’s always best to avoid sharing drinks with someone you don’t know or someone with herpes.

Can You Get Herpes by Sharing Other Things?

In addition to drinks, there is also a slight chance of getting herpes if you share glasses, dishware, silverware, or towels with someone who has herpes.

How Does Herpes Spread?

Herpes spreads from person to person through close, direct, intimate contact.

You may contract herpes if you come into contact with:

  • skin in the genital area of a partner with genital herpes
  • skin in the oral area of a partner with oral herpes
  • a herpes sore
  • genital fluids from a partner with a genital herpes infection
  • saliva from a partner with an oral herpes infection

How Long Does Herpes Live on Surfaces?

The amount of time that the herpes virus is able to live outside of the body can vary, with scientists estimating a range of a few hours to a week.

How to Prevent Herpes Transmission

While it is rare to contract herpes from sharing a drink with someone, there are still some precautions you can take to protect yourself.

When eating in a public place, be careful with sharing dishes, and ask for a new glass if yours appears dirty. Follow these same rules anywhere that glasses are shared.

Additionally, it is always best to avoid sharing drinks with someone that you do not know or someone that you know has herpes.

Besides herpes, other viruses, such as the cold and flu, can spread through sharing drinks. Following these guidelines can also prevent infection from these viruses, which are much more likely to spread through sharing a drink. 

What To Do If You Think You Have Herpes?

Herpes is treatable, but it is not curable. When the initial outbreak clears up, the herpes virus moves into your nerve cells, where it remains for the rest of your life. However, it is not always active and often goes into periods of dormancy.

Even though herpes is not curable, it is still important to see a doctor if you think you have herpes. First and foremost, your doctor can test for herpes through a sample of a sore or your blood, which can help you determine if herpes is causing your symptoms or if it is another STD.

If your test for herpes comes back positive, your doctor can start you on antiviral treatment to help relieve your symptoms and shorten the time of the outbreak.

Once your outbreak clears, your doctor may discuss suppressive therapy, which is long-term antiviral therapy that helps to lessen the risk of passing herpes on to someone else. This type of therapy can also help to minimize the severity of recurrences.

When To See a Doctor

If you have had unprotected oral, vaginal, or anal sex with someone who has herpes, it is recommended to see a doctor for a herpes screening. 

Additionally, if you have any of the symptoms of herpes, you will want to see your doctor about it. Early treatment cannot cure herpes, but it can help minimize symptom severity and reduce your risk of passing the infection to someone else.

Get Help from An Online Doctor

An online doctor can be a great resource for those who have already received a herpes diagnosis. When herpes comes back in an outbreak, you can meet with a doctor using DrHouse in just 15 minutes, and your doctor can prescribe antiviral treatment to help with your outbreak. Additionally, your online doctor can discuss long-term antiviral treatment to help protect yourself and your partner(s).

Key Takeaways

Herpes is a common STD transmitted through close, direct, and intimate contact with someone, and this typically includes oral, vaginal, or anal sex. However, since the herpes virus can be contained in someone’s saliva, there is a very small possibility of contracting herpes by sharing a drink with someone.

While it’s possible to get herpes from sharing a drink, straw, or glass with someone, it’s very rare. Still, it’s best to protect yourself from this form of transmission by ensuring you use a clean glass at a restaurant and avoiding sharing your drink with people you don’t know or those with herpes.

If you think that you have been infected by herpes, it is important to see a doctor to receive a proper diagnosis and begin antiviral treatment. This therapy helps to reduce symptom severity and lessen the risk of passing the infection onto someone else. For those looking for a convenient way to receive antiviral medication during a recurrence of herpes, after receiving an initial diagnosis, an online doctor can help.

Sources

DrHouse articles are written by MDs, NPs, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. The contents of the DrHouse site are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.

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