Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) is very contagious, but it is not air-born like cold or flu viruses. You could be in a room full of people with herpes and walk right through without a hitch.
Herpes is spread by kissing or being sexually intimate with someone who has cold sores (HSV-1) or genital herpes (HSV-2). 50% of genital Herpes cases are caused by contamination from cold sores through oral sex.
You may also contract HSV if you come into contact with fluids from open sores. For example, someone touches a cold sore and then touches you with the fluid still on their fingers. You can also re-infect another part of your own body this way. This is one of the reasons why it's so important to maintain hygiene, especially during breakouts.
You can also get herpes from an infected sex partner who does not have a visible sore or who may not know he or she is infected during a period of viral shedding.
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