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Someone asked us: 

Can I get genital herpes on my hand from fingering an infected individual who was not having a breakout

It’s important to avoid touching herpes sores or having any sexual contact while you or your partner have a herpes outbreak. That’s because herpes is most contagious when sores are open and wet. 

Herpes is spread from skin-to-skin contact with infected areas, often during vaginal sex, oral sex, anal sex, and kissing. Touching open sores with your hands can spread the sores from one part of your body to another if you don’t wash your hands immediately after. This puts you at a higher risk of spreading the virus to yourself or partner(s). Other areas of your skin can get infected if there’s a way for the herpes virus to get in, like through a cut, burn, rash, or other sores. You can also pass herpes to someone else this way.

If an outbreak isn’t present (no visible sores), herpes can still “shed” and spread to others. Always use condoms, finger cots, or dental dams when there isn’t an outbreak to lower your chances of spreading herpes during sex. 

If you think you may have herpes, the staff at your local Planned Parenthood health center can help with STI testing and treatment.

Tags: genital herpes, herpes, STD, STI