Can you get genital herpes from a toilet seat?
Answer From Pritish K. Tosh, M.D.
It’s nearly impossible to get genital herpes from a toilet seat.
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus. This virus dies quickly outside the body. So it is nearly impossible to get infected by contact with toilets or other objects used by a person with an infection.
The herpes virus spreads by person-to-person contact, usually during sexual activity. In most cases, the virus enters the body through mucous membranes. This is the type of skin found in the mouth, genitals and anus. The virus also can enter the body through skin that has tiny scrapes or tears.
People can have genital herpes for years without knowing it. The virus can spread even if an infected person has no genital sores.
Pritish K. Tosh, M.D.
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Nov. 11, 2022
- Kliegman RM, et al. Herpes simplex virus. In: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Elsevier; 2020. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Oct. 21, 2022.
- Long SS, et al, eds. Herpes simplex virus. In: Principles and Practice of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. 6th ed. Elsevier; 2023. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Oct. 21, 2022.
- Genital herpes fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/stdfact-herpes-detailed.htm. Accessed Oct. 21, 2022.