Some experts say that more than 50% of new Genital Herpes cases are caused by HSV-1, often due to oral-to-genital sexual transmission. After outbreak, the virus goes into “latency.” While latent, HSV lives in a kind of state of suspended animation, in the nerve centers in the spine: genital HSV in the sacral nerve roots (ganglia) at the base of the spine, and oral-facial HSV in the trigeminal nerve roots at the base of the neck.When reactivated due to a physical or emotional stimulus, HSV begins to replicate, and travels the nerve pathways to the surface of the skin.
Herpes is also more likely to spread to compromised epithelial tissue – skin that has suffered cuts, abrasions, scrapes, etc.
Simple handwashing can prevent this type of virus transfer.
Herpes is most easily passed through inoculation from active lesions.
The virus may also spread during times when there are no symptoms, and from sites that are seemingly inactive.
There is some evidence that people who have HSV-1 are more resistant to the HSV-2.
This should not be interpreted as immunity but rather as a higher resistance factor.
Inoculation (transmission) and autoinoculation (self-infection) of Genital Herpes occurs primarily through vigorous intercourse, masturbation, anal sex, and oral sex with an infected member.
Herpes can be passed via the use of sexual stimulators such as vibrators.
In studies of transmission of Genital Herpes in couples, the annual risk of transmission averaged 5 to 10% per year for those abstaining from sex during outbreaks.
The risk of acquisition was much higher (16.9%) for women, but somewhat lower for those who already had HSV-1.
Many times the partner who carries the virus is not even aware of an outbreak.