Can someone get herpes from drinking out of the same straw?

by Karen

Can someone get herpes from drinking out of the same straw?


Dear Karen,

The Herpes Virus is passed through skin to skin contact. It is tiny. It works by attaching on to your cells, especially targeting nerve cells.

Once attached to the cell, it heads to the nerve nucleus where it hides. And the sad thing is, it hides there for the rest of your life, waiting to be reactivated. When an outbreak occurs, the virus travels to the site of infection and manifests into sores. Since the virus is on the skin, there has to be direct skin-to-skin contact in order for re-infection to occur.

But there is also a phenomenon called viral shedding, in which the virus is contagious even without visible signs of an outbreak. The herpes virus dies relatively quickly outside the body, however, some experts argue that saliva can actually harbor virulent strains of herpes for a time. So if someone with oral herpes used a straw and that person is in his/her viral shedding phase and a person immediately drank from the same straw then he/she could possibly acquire the virus.

This is why so many people (even children) have oral herpes. They don’t know they have it or they dismiss the sores as mere allergies from the food they eat. An innocent peck on a child's lips or cheek, from an oral-herpes positive relative for example, could transmit the virus easily.

I recommend getting a herpes blood test done to have some peace of mind. It’s best to know what you are up against: whether you've acquired the virus or not. You could also read our article on oral herpes for more information.

Hope this helps!



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