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Can I Get Herpes From Sharing Cigarettes (And Food) With My Roommate?

Question:

"One of my closest friends just contracted oral herpes. I'm going to be living with her in a few months so I wanted to know what precautions I have to take to prevent me from contracting it as well, especially related to sharing things such as food or passing a cigarette between us."

- Anonymous

Response:

Oral herpes (herpes simplex II) is a highly contagious and highly common disease. An oral herpes infection has the greatest chance of spreading during an active infection however it can still be passed even if it is showing no signs. When it comes to precautions concerning your roommate, it's generally safe to share cigarettes and food unless there is an active outbreak. HSV-1 most commonly passes through large swaps of saliva during romantic exchanges and not through common day to day interactions like sharing a drink.


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