Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Should I get tested?"

ZocdocAnswersShould I get tested?


I was walking with someone at my college and talking to them. We sat down in the library and I helped her with her phone. I was touching her phone and I accidentally touched her hand. She told me today that she has HSV-2. How likely is it I am infected.


This must be worrying you quite a lot, and in these situations it is always best to see your physician. The good news is that it is very unlikely that you have contracted this virus, as it is spread by mucosal contact. One could construct a scenario where your colleague had a part of her oral mucosa touching her phone, with your own use of her phone giving you oral mucosal contact at exactly the same place but this is both highly improbably and unlikely. You cannot get HSV from casual skin to skin contact from hand to hand. In addition, HSV-1 and HSV-2 can both affect oral and genital mucosa. From the interaction you describe, the only type of infection to which you could possibly have been exposed (even though it is highly unlikely) is an oral infection. If your colleague did not specify where she has had HSV outbreaks, this makes your possible exposure even less likely. However, anytime you are worried about a possible risk to your health, the best thing to do is always see your physician right away. He or she can go over the entire scenario with you and help put your mind at ease about any possible risk. If you do have any outbreaks or skin changes, he or she can also help evaluate that.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.