Sexual contact (oral, vaginal, or anal) is very risky during this time.
A person has about a 75% chance of contracting herpes during intimate contact with someone actively shedding the virus. Sometimes those who know they are infected spread the virus between outbreaks, when no signs or symptoms are present.
Unlike a flu virus that you can get through the air, herpes spreads by direct contact, that is, directly from the site of infection to the site of contact.
For example, if you have a cold sore and kiss someone, you can transfer the virus to their mouth.
For those who recognize their symptoms, asymptomatic transmission appears to be far less likely than spreading the virus when lesions are present.
This is called "Asymptomatic Transmission." Many genital herpes infections are spread from persons who are asymptomatic "Shedders" of the virus.At the University of Washington, researchers found that even 10 years after being diagnosed with HSV-2, adults continue to shed virus nearly 14% of days.Research also shows that herpes simplex infections are often spread by people who don't know they are infected.These people may have symptoms so mild they don't notice them at all or else don't recognize them as herpes.
These are called "Prodromal Symptoms" and they warn that virus may be present on the skin.
Herpes is most likely to be spread from the time these first symptoms are noticed until the area is completely healed and the skin looks normal again.