How Do You Catch Genital Herpes
The HSV-1 and HSV-2 types of herpes simplex are found in bodily fluids including semen, saliva and vaginal secretions.
You can become infected with genital herpes:
- If your genitals come into contact with an infected persons genitals, even if there is no penetration or ejaculate present
- Oral sex with someone who has a cold sore. The cold sore contains the herpes simplex virus, which may be transmitted to your genitals
You cannot catch genital herpes from:
- Kissing, hugging or sharing a bed with an infected person
- Toilet seat or swimming pools
- Objects such as towels, cups or cutlery
This is because the virus is not able to survive well outside of the human body.
Statistics About Herpes Simplex Virus
Herpes simplex virus in immunocompetent people is rarely resistant to Acyclovir . But in immunocompromised people 3.5% to 10% of herpes simplex cases are resistant to Acyclovir. In clinical surveys researchers report of up to 36% of cases of herpes simplex that are resistant to Acyclovir. You can see that an alternative treatment against herpes involving smaller molecules that treats regular herpes and also resistant herpes would be very useful.
Dr. Evilevitch is doing research together with the National Institutes of Health in the United States in order to develop an oral medication that will treat resistant herpes.
A New Antiviral Drug Combats Herpes and Resistant Herpes
What Are Genital Herpes Symptoms
Outbreaks got you feeling like you won the STI lottery? Cheer up, herpes is as common in dating as the awkward first kiss. Unfortunately, many people dont know they have it. 1 in 6 humans has genital herpes or HSV-2. Individuals with HSV-2 will experience genital outbreaks for the rest of their lives, although many individuals mistake them simply as genital pimples or fever blisters but painful genital ulcers, call em what you want, are usually a sign you have genital herpes.
Swollen or tender lymphs in the legs & groin
Headache & pain in your joints
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Types Of Antiviral Drugs
There are three oral antivirals recommended for the treatment of oral or genital herpes:
|Famvir, 250 mg||Twice daily|
Preventing genital herpes recurrence is important as it reduces the risk of HIV. According to the CDC, having an active genital herpes infection increases the risk of HIV by 200% to 300%.
Suppressive Therapy For Recurrent Hsv
Suppressive therapy reduces frequency of genital herpes recurrences by 70%80% among patients who have frequent recurrences . Persons receiving such therapy often report having experienced no symptomatic outbreaks. Suppressive therapy also is effective for patients with less frequent recurrences. Long-term safety and efficacy have been documented among patients receiving daily acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir . Quality of life is improved for many patients with frequent recurrences who receive suppressive therapy rather than episodic treatment . Providers should discuss with patients on an annual basis whether they want to continue suppressive therapy because frequency of genital HSV-2 recurrence diminishes over time for many persons. However, neither treatment discontinuation nor laboratory monitoring is necessary because adverse events and development of HSV antiviral resistance related to long-term antiviral use are uncommon.
Valacyclovir 500 mg orally 2 times/day for 3 daysOR
Valacyclovir 1 gm orally once daily for 5 days
*Acyclovir 400 mg orally 3 times/day is also effective, but are not recommended because of frequency of dosing.
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Treatment Options For Genital Herpes
Acyclovir was the first antiviral agent to be used in the treatment of genital herpes, and as such, is the most extensively studied of the antiviral agents currently available. This drug is available in topical, oral, and intravenous forms . In the distant past, topical acyclovir was used to treat recurrent genital herpes, but its ineffectiveness has been known for quite some time. A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study found that after application of topical acyclovir 6 times daily for 5 days, only the duration of virus shedding from lesions was reduced compared to placebo. Differences between time to lesion crusting, lesion healing, new lesion formation, and cessation of pain were non-significant .
Intravenous acyclovir remains the most effective form of treatment for a primary genital herpes infection, leading to significant reduction in time to cessation of viral shedding and pain. Time to lesion healing is also 6 days faster than with placebo alone . However, as IV administration of acyclovir requires hospitalization, this route is reserved for patients with life-threatening disease or systemic complications .
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Is There Anything I Can Do To Relieve The Symptoms Myself
In some women, genital herpes blisters cause pain when urinating . Many of them find it soothing to pee while sitting in warm, shallow water . You can do this using special tubs that fit into toilet bowls. They are available at a reasonable price, for instance from pharmacies or on the internet. It’s best not to use soaps or bath additives because they can irritate the affected area even more. Other things you can do to avoid irritating it further include wearing loose-fitting clothes and underwear made out of fabrics that have a smooth surface.
Painkillers such as ibuprofen are an option if the blisters become very painful.
Topical antiviral treatments such as creams or ointments don’t provide any relief, but they can increase the risk of viral resistance. Experts advise against using topical treatments for genital herpes.
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What Are Antiviral Medications For Herpes
There are three antiviral medications that are FDA-approved for the treatment of genital herpes:
- Acyclovir: The oldest antiviral medication for herpes is acyclovir. It has been available since 1982 in a topical form and sold since 1985 in pill form. Acyclovir has been shown to be safe in persons who have used it continuously for as long as 10 years.
- Valacyclovir: A newer drug, valacyclovir, actually uses acyclovir as its active ingredient. This medication delivers acyclovir more efficiently so that the body absorbs much of the drug, which has the advantage of taking the medication fewer times during the day.
- Famciclovir: Famciclovir uses penciclovir as its active ingredient to stop HSV from replicating. Like valacyclovir, it is well absorbed, persists for a longer time in the body, and can be taken less frequently than acyclovir.
Antiviral medication is commonly prescribed for patients having a first episode of genital herpes, but they can be used for recurrent episodes as well. There are two kinds of treatment regimens: episodic therapy and suppressive therapy.
What Is Genital Herpes
Genital herpes is a common viral infection caused by a virus known as the herpes simplex virus .
There are two types of the virus, types 1 and 2 . As well as genital herpes, HSV can infect your mouth and cause cold sores. HSV-1 and HSV-2 infections look the same and you can only tell them apart by lab testing.
Because genital herpes can be passed to others through sexual contact, it is often referred to as a sexually transmitted infection .
As many as 1 in 3 adults has the virus that causes genital herpes. Once you have HSV it remains in your body and becomes active again from time to time.
On average, symptoms of genital herpes are likely to recur 45 times in the first 2 years after being infected with HSV. However, over time the virus tends to become active less often and each time you get symptoms they are less severe.
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How Are Initial Outbreaks Treated
Antiviral medications can help to control the symptoms and shorten the duration of initial herpes outbreaks by 2 to 4 days. The treatment of an initial outbreak should be started within the first three days the earlier, the better.
The medications are taken as tablets. The number of tablets per day depends on the active ingredient and the dose. The World Health Organization recommends the following doses and amounts for treating an initial outbreak:
- aciclovir: 200 mg five times per day or 400 mg three times per day,
- famciclovir: 250 mg three times per day, or
- valaciclovir: 500 mg two times per day.
The WHO recommends that the treatment last ten days.
These three medications are about as effective as each other. Aciclovir is the most commonly used because doctors and patients have the most experience with this medication.
How To Take Aciclovir
- Swallow your aciclovir tablets with a glass of water. If you have difficulty swallowing the tablet, the tablet can be dissolved in a small glass of water. Stir until dissolved. Drink all the water to make sure you get the full dose.
- Timing: Separate your doses out evenly during the day. For example, if your dose is to be taken 5 times a day, take a dose about every 4 hours such as 7am, 11am, 3pm, 7pm and 11pm. You can take aciclovir with or without food.
- Drink plenty of water while taking aciclovir. Itâs important todrink plenty of water so you donât get dehydrated while taking aciclovir.This could affect your kidneys.This is especially important for older adults.
- Missed dose: If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember but, if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take double the dose.
- Keep taking aciclovir until the course is finished. Do not stop taking it, even if you feel better after a few days. Your doctor will advise you on how long to take aciclovir for .
- Wear sunscreen when outside. Protect yourself from too much sunlight while being treated with aciclovir. Always cover up and apply a thick layer of broad spectrum sunscreen when outside. Do not use sunbeds.
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Is Genital Herpes Painful
While many people with the HSV virus experience no symptoms, when sores do develop, they can be painful.
Blisters around the area of infection can itch and tingle, and then turn into open sores when they are ulcerated. Some people also experience flu-like symptoms during their first outbreak, such as fever, muscle aches, headache and swollen lymph nodes in the groin.
Prescribed medication for genital herpes, such as aciclovir, valaciclovir and Valtrex, can help to manage the condition and ease symptoms. You may also use over the counter pain medication such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
Can Antivirals Cure Viral Infections
Antiviral drugs can ease symptoms and shorten how long you are sick with viral infections like the flu and Ebola. They can rid your body of these viruses.
Viral infections like HIV, hepatitis and herpes are chronic. Antivirals cant get rid of the virus, which stays in your body. However, antiviral medicines can make the virus latent so that you have few, if any, symptoms. Symptoms that develop while you take antivirals may be less severe or go away faster.
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What Is Herpes Simplex
Herpes simplex is a virus that causes skin infections. The infection lasts your lifetime, and it causes painful or itchy sores and blisters that come and go. Herpes simplex virus typically doesnt cause severe problems. But it can be dangerous in infants and people with weakened immune systems. There are two types of herpes simplex:
- Herpes simplex 1 tends to affect your mouth or face. It causes cold sores. HSV-1 spreads through contact with saliva .
- Herpes simplex 2 is a sexually transmitted disease . It causes sores on skin that comes in contact with the genitals of an infected person.
Sometimes a herpes infection can affect other parts of your body, such as your eyes or other parts of your skin.
Valacyclovir For First Herpes Outbreaks
For first-time herpes outbreaks, valacyclovir is most effective when its used within 48 hours of symptoms appearing.
The standard dosage of valacyclovir for first-time herpes outbreaks is 1,000 mg two times per day over a period of 10 days. Valacyclovir usually starts treating herpes symptoms as soon as its in your system, but can take several days to produce a noticeable improvement.
It can take up to 10 days for herpes blisters to heal even with valacyclovir treatment. This makes it important to start treatment as soon as you notice herpes symptoms.
In some cases, your doctor might prescribe valacyclovir for a longer period than 10 days or at a different dosage. In this case, follow your doctors instructions and make sure you complete the full course of the medication, even if the herpes blisters heal before the end of the period.
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What Else Can I Do To Help With A Genital Herpes Outbreak
As well as taking medication to help with symptoms, you can also try:
- using an anaesthetic gel to numb your skin and ease any pain
- soaking the affected area with plain or salt water
- applying Vaseline to the affected area
- drinking plenty of fluids
- wearing loose clothing
- taking pain relief medications, like paracetamol or ibuprofen
The symptoms of herpes outbreaks will usually go away by themselves within 10 days as your immune system fights the infection on its own. You might find the sores painful during that time, so medication can help you by clearing up the infection more quickly.
If youd like to speak to one of our doctors about your symptoms, you can book a telephone consultation. Theyll be able to provide personalised advice on how to cope with genital herpes.
What Should I Know About Storage And Disposal Of This Medication
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture .
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location â one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach.
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
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What Other Information Should I Know
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your response to acyclovir.
Do not let anyone else take or use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
How Can I Prevent Herpes Outbreaks
If you have lots of herpes outbreaks, your doctor may tell you to take medicine every day this is called suppressive therapy. It can help prevent future herpes outbreaks, and lower your chances of giving herpes to your partners.
Whether or not you take medicine to treat herpes, taking care of yourself by eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, and avoiding stress might help keep future outbreaks from popping up.
No one knows for sure what triggers genital herpes outbreaks. Other infections, surgery, sex, your period, skin irritations, and stress may cause outbreaks. Sunburns, injuries to your lips, or other infections can cause oral herpes flare-ups. Try to avoid getting sunburned if you have oral herpes.
Genital herpes outbreaks usually happen less often and become shorter and weaker after a few years whether or not you get treated.
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How Do I Treat Genital Herpes
For most people antiviral medicine is not necessary either because their body prevents recurrent symptoms or because they find that adopting a healthier life style makes a difference. See What can I do to prevent frequent recurrences?For people who are unlucky and get frequent recurrences, there are two ways that antiviral tablets can be used.
Is There An Over
Yes, but OTC medications are generally less effective in treating herpes than prescription ones. Abreva is an over-the-counter topical drug that many people use to treat cold sores from HSV-1, but not HSV-2. NSAIDs like ibuprofen and Tylenol are OTC drugs that reduce pain and discomfort, but they do not treat herpes directly.
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How Long Does Genital Herpes Last
As there is no cure for genital herpes, the virus stays in the body even after the signs of the infection have gone away.
Outbreaks themselves can last for up to two to three weeks, and the initial outbreak, often considered the most severe, could last up to four weeks. After the sores develop, they break open and fluid is released. When the sores scab over, the healing process is underway. Blisters do not typically leave any scars.
Subsequent outbreaks tend to become less severe and generally pass within a few days. Genital herpes medication helps to speed up the recovery time, shorten the length of an outbreak, as well as helping to ease symptoms.