How long does herpes live on skin?

The herpes simplex virus can survive on the skin for a variable period, depending on factors such as the location of the infection and whether or not there are visible sores. The virus can also survive on objects like towels, utensils, and sex toys for a short time, typically a few hours to a day or two.

During an active outbreak of genital or oral herpes, the virus can survive on the skin for several days, typically up to 7-10 days, until the sores have completely healed. However, even after the sores have healed, the virus can remain dormant in the body and reactivate later, causing new outbreaks of herpes.

It’s also important to note that herpes can be transmitted even when no visible sores or symptoms are present. This is because the virus can be shed from the skin without causing any noticeable signs of infection. This shedding can occur intermittently, with or without visible symptoms, and can continue even with treatment.

To reduce the risk of transmitting or contracting herpes, it’s important to practice safe sex, use condoms during sexual activity, and avoid sexual contact or sharing personal items during an active outbreak. If you or your partner has herpes, it’s also important to talk to a healthcare provider about treatment options and strategies for managing the condition.