The herpes virus invades the body, usually through the moist skin of the mouth or genital area or from a cut or scratch on other parts of the body. Once inside, it reproduces and if it enters the nerve fibres and settles in a large nerve centre called a ganglion, it can remain there forever.
Herpes can be transmitted by any type of sex. Remember, it can be symptomless and cold sores on the face can easily be confused with a skin infection, so you may not know you or your partner has it. It is passed on by:
- Kissing someone who has a cold sore
- Sharing spoons and forks that haven't been washed
- Touching someone's genitals with your fingers
- Rubbing your genitals together
- Sharing sex toys without covering them with a condom
If you have active sores anywhere on your body, abstain from sexual contact until you have received treatment. Whereas the most important question is how can you catch herpes, you must also understand that herpes cannot be transmitted by toilet seats, towels or swimming pools.