Can you get herpes from hugging?

Dear Dr. Tom:

Is it possible to get herpes from hugging someone?

Dr. Tom’s Response:

Dear Anonymous:

NO! Hugging someone in the manner we are all most accustomed to is not a means to transmit herpes. HSV is transmitted most commonly through warm, moist, mucous membranes and tissues, ie., genital tract, eyes, anus, et. al. HSV is not airborne. Hugging of nude bodies where one has herpetic lesions, however, would be a most likely way to pass the infection. Herpes and another member of the pox virus group have been known to be transmitted between wrestlers’ sweaty bodies.


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