Can Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) be transmitted through general skin-to-skin contact, or is it specifically only contact with the affected sites?
The virus has to be present on the surface of the skin. Sometimes people can see and feel this activity and other times not so much. But, just because you can’t see and feel the herpes virus doesn’t mean that it isn’t active.
When the virus sleeps it resides in the nerve pathways at the top of the spine for oral herpes and in the nerve pathways at the bottom of the spine for genital herpes.
Usually people with oral herpes that have symptoms they can see and feel get outbreaks in the form of a cold sore OR fever blister on and around the oral facial area. People with genital herpes that have symptoms they can see and feel get outbreaks in genital area or somewhere within the boxer shorts region.
You don’t have to have signs or symptoms in order to pass herpes to your partner. All it takes is active virus on the surface of the skin under the right circumstances usually through kissing, sex, oral sex, or anal sex.