How Can I Protect Myself From Herpes If My Roommate Has It?

Herpes is an extremely common STD, especially in the United States, so it’s completely normal to worry about contacting it someway… especially if someone you know has already been infected by it. What if that someone else is someone who lives with you? If your roommate has herpes, how do you protect yourself? We’ve got answers that will hopefully keep you herpes-free! 

ChickRx expert Dr. Sophia Yen, Adolescent Medicine board certified, pediatrician, says:  

The answer to this question depends on if your roommate has herpes of the mouth or of the genitals.

If your roommate has genital herpes, you don’t have to worry about getting it from sharing the toilet, shower, etc. Genital herpes is spread by mouth to genital or genital to genital contact. This means you can get it from another person by having sex with them, whether it’s “normal” intercourse, anal or oral. Something to keep in mind is that you can contract herpes from someone else even if you don’t see a visible sore.

Assuming you’re not sexually active with your roommate, you generally do not need to worry about contracting genital herpes from him/her. Perhaps don’t share a bar of soap with them if you’re going to use it to wash your genitals.

If your roommate has oral herpes, it’s pretty simple: don’t kiss him/her and don’t share drinks with him/her, especially if you notice open sores. Herpes is most contagious when the sores are open and obvious, but can still be transmitted even without a sore there.

Keep in mind that 80 percent of us will get herpes of the mouth at some point during our lives. While that sounds scary, it’s actually not as crazy as it may seem. Cold sores are a form of oral herpes and they’re very common. If you get a cold sore, try not to touch it and if you do, wash your hands with soap and water so that you don’t pass it along to someone else.

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  • Yandy

    my closest friend just been diagnosed with here, and now I’m freaking out about everything we’ve shared as far as shorts, pants, and wash clothes ( clean of course), I’m trying to be supportive and at the same time protective of myself without being ignorant any tips?