Can you get Herpes Wearing Another Woman’s Bathing Suit?

Dear Dr. Tom:

My wife wore another woman’s swimsuit who we knows has herpes about three weeks ago. She has developed a small swollen spot above and left of her clitoris. This spot resembles an ingrown hair and does not bother her at all. I did shave her within the past week, how worried should we be?

Dr. Tom’s Response:

Dear Reid:

We cannot make diagnosis over the internet, but we can offer you what, hopefully, will be helpful information. Herpes has been documented to have been transmitted by one person using another infected person’s damp towel. This is an uncommon way for the virus to be transmitted, but that is possible. The lesion resembling an ingrown hair could have resulted from localized skin infection possibly caused by an invading micro-organism which entered minute abrasions created during shaving. The woman’s genital anatomy, unfortunately, is located dangerously close to the anus, terminal end of the most highly microbially populated portion of the human body. Plenty of available potential microbial invaders are close by. Note that so many feminine gynecologic problems have microbial origins, e.g., “yeast infections”, etc.


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