People are discussing whether it’s possible to get herpes by sharing a razor.
The discussion was sparked by a Reddit user who worried she had given her dad herpes by using a razor he owns to share her public hair.
In the post, entitled “TIFU [Today I Fucked Up] and gave my dad herpes,” the Canadian user explains that she contracted herpes during college – or university, as it is known in the UK.
Returning to her parents’ home at Christmas time, the user tells how she used a disposable razor belonging to her father in order to tidy up her pubic hair ahead of an anticipated hook-up.
“A boy I had a crush on in high school was going to be at a party I was going to [...] I figure who knows what’s going to happen, but I’ll give all my areas a good touch up.”
She adds, for context: “I’m rushing and I cut myself a little.”
Months later, she received a call from her mother saying her father had contracted herpes on his face – and she realised this might be from the razor – “I forgot I left [it] in our family shower”.
Thankfully, the Reddit user says she came clean and her parents – who have been together since they were both 18 – have since reconciled.
But is it really possible to contract herpes in this way?
Some users are doubting the story, with one saying the “medical likelihood” of transferring herpes this way is low, and another commenting it’s “not possible” to get herpes this way.
However, Yahoo UK enlisted a qualified medical expert to clear up the matter once and for all.
"Genital herpes is a common infection and is caused by the same family of virus that causes cold sores,” explains Dr Daniel Fenton, Clinical Director at London Doctors Clinic.
Symptoms can occur from a few days after you contract the condition, according to the NHS website, however, in some cases they might not appear for weeks or even years.
What can you expect if you contract herpes?
“Symptoms can generally be identified by small uncomfortable blisters which can really hurt - making urinating or just moving around very uncomfortable.
“The blisters go away by themselves after about 10 days but very often come back again whenever your immune system gets a bit low or distracted.”
So, can you catch herpes through sharing a razor?
It is possible, in rare cases according to Dr Fenton.
This is particularly true if you have lesions, or wounds, in the skin.
“When you clean shave you could leave the surrounding skin broken and irritated,” he says.
“When broken skin and open wounds are exposed to other bodily fluids, there is a significantly higher chance of passing on or spreading STIs.
“Whilst it is a rare way to catch an STI , there is certainly a possibility of contracting herpes by using someone else dirty razor, particularly if they had active lesions at the time of shaving.”
How to treat herpes
Unfortunately, there is no cure for herpes – but treatment options are available, says Dr Fenton.
“Each attack can be very effectively managed by using anti-viral medications which you can get from your doctor,” he says.
“Try to have the medications on hand because the sooner you use them in each attack the better they will work."