There are no animal reservoirs. The virus can survive for short periods on fomites or in bathwater, but non-sexual tranmission rarely occurs. Sexual transmission of HSV is most likely to occur during the first few days of symptomatic disease, but it can happen in the absence of symptoms or signs of the disease. Once infected, there is a life-long risk of transmitting the virus to another person. Herpes simplex, like other ulcerating genital diseases, promotes the spread of AIDS by increasing the risk of HIV infection.

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