Genital Herpes And Pregnancy
It is important to avoid contracting herpes during pregnancy. A first episode during pregnancy can create a greater risk of transmission to a newborn.
Fortunately, it is rare for women with genital herpes to infect their babies. If you know that you have genital herpes before becoming pregnant, your physician will monitor your condition throughout your pregnancy. If you have an active outbreak at the time of delivery, a C-section may be recommended. Depending on individual diagnosis, though, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists endorses suppressive therapy to reduce the frequency of C-section.
Herpes Through Indirect Contact
Less commonly, it is possible to contract herpes without skin contact.
This could involve sharing personal products that touch the sores or saliva of an infected person, like razors, washcloths, or other facial care products.
It could also involve sharing cups or utensils.
However, these are not primary ways that herpes spreads.
Anyone with an active cold sore or herpes blister should avoid allowing anyone else to come into contact with the sores, and should not kiss or share utensils or other objects that have saliva on them until the outbreak is over.
Infectious Diseases That Spread Through Saliva
If youve ever heard of mono, then you know of at least one kissing disease.Mononucleosis is probably one of the most well-known infectious diseases among adolescents. While many people know that they can acquire a sexually transmitted disease from intercourse, there are also many infections that can be spread through mere kissing alone.
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Can I Catch Herpes Simplex Off Towels Cups Or Anything
No, you will not catch it off anything. The virus is caught from the skin, not from objects. It is a delicate virus and dies quickly when away from the skin where the sore is. There is more about transmission in our Transmission leaflet available to members. This statement is taken from the guidelines for doctors produced by the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV.
What Stds Can Be Spread Through Kissing
Small microorganisms can cause STDs. Some of these microorganisms can live in your saliva, or they can cause sores in your mouth. This makes it easier for them to spread between people when they kiss, especially during deep, open-mouthed kissing.
Lets break it down into what STDs you can and cant get from kissing.
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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Herpes Simplex
You can reduce your risk of contracting HSV-1 by avoiding physical contact with someone who has a cold sore. People can still spread HSV-1 when cold sores arent present, but its less likely.
If someone has an active HSV-1 infection, avoid:
- Sharing utensils, cups, lip balms or other personal care products.
- Touching the skin near their mouth.
If youre sexually active, you can take these steps to protect yourself and others from the herpes virus and other STIs:
- Be monogamous with one sexual partner or limit your number of partners.
- Get tested for STIs and complete any prescribed treatment.
- Tell your sexual partners if you have genital herpes so they can get tested.
- Use condoms during intercourse and dental dams during oral sex.
Wash your hands often if you have an outbreak or are around someone with symptoms.
If your sexual partner has genital herpes, these actions can lower your risk of getting the virus:
- Dont have sex when your partner has active symptoms. Condoms may not cover all sores, so you may still get the virus.
- Make sure your partner takes antiviral medication as prescribed.
- Wait to have sex until scabs fall off active lesions.
Concerned About Catching Herpes
Herpes is extremely common, making it completely normal to have some level of concern about being exposed to the virus. The reality is that many people have some form of herpes, whether its the more common HSV-1 form of the virus or the less common HSV-2 form.
Are you interested in learning more about how herpes spreads from person to person, as well as what you can do to minimize your risks? Our guide to herpes types covers the process in more detail, with specific tips on how to reduce your herpes exposure risk. Looking for herpes treatment? We have you covered there, too.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standardshere.
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How To Tell If You Have Genital Herpes
Genital herpes can be asymptomatic, which means you wont notice any symptoms. The signs and symptoms of a herpes breakout include:
- Painful blisters on and/or surrounding the genital area
- Discomfort such as tingling or burning in the genital area
If you experience symptoms of genital herpes, visit a doctor.
How Disease Is Spread
Diseases can be spread from person to person in a number of ways:
- Contact spread some diseases are spread directly from person to person, for example during kissing, or indirectly when you touch a contaminated surface or object.
- Droplet spread infected droplets from the nose and throat can usually travel around one metre before they drop onto a surface. Sometimes infected droplets can also linger in the air. Infection occurs when the infected droplet is inhaled or someone comes into contact with a contaminated surface or object.
- Airborne spread some infected particlesfrom the nose and throat can remain in the air for a long time because of their tiny size. They are called droplet nuclei and can be inhaled directly into the lungs.
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Is It Possible To Have Unprotected Sex And Not Catch Herpes
If you have unprotected sex with someone who has genital herpes then youre not guaranteed to catch it, but you are playing with fire. Herpes infections are highly contagious and very easy to catch, so although you arent guaranteed to catch it you have a high chance.
OK. Lets get down to it and look at some specifics about how you can catch herpes infections:
Can Herpes Be Transmitted Through Saliva
Yes, oral herpes, caused by HSV-1, mainly spreads through contact with visible sores, saliva, and infected skin surfaces around the lips and mouth.
HSV-1 can also be transmitted through saliva to the genital area of a person if they receive oral sex from a person with oral herpes, but this is less common.
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Herpes Is A Common Infection
Herpes is a super-common infection that stays in your body for life. More than half of Americans have oral herpes, and about 1 out of 6 Americans has genital herpes. So chances are a few people you know are living with herpes.
Theres no cure for herpes, but medication can ease your symptoms and lower your chances of giving the virus to other people. And the good news is, outbreaks usually become less frequent over time, and even though herpes can sometimes be uncomfortable and painful, its not dangerous. People with herpes have relationships, have sex, and live perfectly healthy lives.
What Are The Chances Of Getting Herpes From Kissing
Contact with active lesions and saliva can transmit HSV-1, which causes oral herpes. But you dont need to have a visible cold sore to transmit the infection to others. Studies have shown that almost 1 in 10 adults have HSV-1 in their oral secretions even though they dont have active herpes outbreaks or visible cold sores. With that said, the chances of transmitting the virus are far greater when there is an active herpes outbreak because the viral load is 1,000 times higher in active HSV-1 lesions.
So, given that so many people have HSV-1 in their saliva is it safe to ever kiss again? The chance of transmitting the virus is low when there are no symptoms, so it is probably safe to kiss someone who doesnt have a cold sore. However, if someone has an active HSV-1 lesion , its best to avoid kissing them.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Herpes
Herpes symptoms can range from mild to severe. In some cases, individuals have herpes with no visible signs or symptoms. In this case, they may pass it to a partner without ever realizing that they had it. Oral herpes manifests through cold sores and fever blisters around the mouth. You may also feel a tingling sensation with these sores.
Less commonly, HSV-1 can cause ocular herpes in the eye, which may lead to blindness. Rarely, herpes can transfer to the brain, a condition known as herpes encephalitis.
Genital herpes causes small blisters on the genitals, buttocks, or thighs. These look like pimples when they first appear. The lesions then break open, causing painful sores that will scab over in a few weeks. The first outbreak typically takes longer to heal than subsequent outbreaks.
The first occurrence of both genital and oral herpes is the worst. The lesions are often accompanied by flu-like symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes or fever.
After an outbreak, the virus will lie dormant for a period of time. When it becomes active again, it enters a stage known as shedding. When the virus is shedding, its most susceptible to transmission. Active lesions are a sure sign that herpes is shedding. However, the virus may shed without the presence of sores, making it possible to unknowingly spread herpes.
Facts About Cold Sores
Cold sores usually appear as a single watery blister on the lip or mouth, or several blisters that consolidate into one.
They are usually caused by herpes simplex virus-1 . HSV-1 is the cousin of HSV-2, which is primarily associated with genital herpes.
However, HSV-1 can also lead to genital herpes during oral sex and HSV-2 can sometimes lead to cold sores.
HSV-1 is very common. About 67% of the world’s population under age 50 has HSV-1.
Cold sores affect roughly 3 of every 1,000 people each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Of these, 33% will experience subsequent attacks triggered by stress, fever, and other causes.
Once you have HSV-1 it doesn’t go away. If you develop a cold sore, the virus can spread more easily.
Cold sores are typically spread through saliva and direct contact. You can get them through kissing or sharing lip balm with someone who has a cold sore.
Cold sores can be painful and may take up to 14 days before active healing begins.
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Understanding Herpes With H Hunter Handsfield Md
Herpes expert H. Hunter Handsfield, MD, explains the basics about genital herpes, including the difference between genital HSV-1 and HSV-2 infection, testing options and the importance of knowing virus type, and the three-prong strategy for prevention. See more herpes videos at sexualhealthTV.com.
Have a question about herpes youd like Dr. Handsfield or our other experts to answer? Visit our Ask the Experts page to learn how.
Does The Type Of Kiss Matter
Nope. Full-on tongue action, a peck on the cheek, and every other kind of kiss in between can spread herpes.
There isnt any research showing that one type of kiss is riskier than another when it comes to oral herpes risk. That said, theres evidence that the risk of some sexually transmitted infections goes up with open-mouthed kissing.
Remember that kissing isnt restricted to the face either making oral-to-genital contact can transmit HSV, too.
The risk of transmission is higher when there are visible sores or blisters, but you or your partner can still contract herpes oral or genital if symptoms arent present.
Once you contract herpes simplex, its in the body for life.
Not everyone experiences an outbreak, but everyone with the virus experiences periods of asymptomatic shedding. This is why herpes can be spread even when there are no visible symptoms.
Its impossible to predict when shedding will occur or how contagious you or your partners condition will be. Everyone is different.
You shouldnt, especially during an outbreak.
You can contract herpes from sharing any objects that have made contact with the saliva of a person who carries the virus.
That said, HSV cant live very long off of the skin, so the risk of contracting it from inanimate objects is very low.
Still, the best way to minimize your risk is to use your own lipstick, fork, or whatever else.
For starters, avoid direct skin-to-skin contact during an outbreak.
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What Are Possible Complications Of Cold Sores In A Child
In most children, cold sores don’t cause serious illness. In some cases, the herpes simplex virus can cause inflammation of the brain . This is a serious illness and needs to be treated right away. It can lead to long-term problems of the brain.
Cold sores in a newborn baby can cause serious illness and death. This may be the case even when treated with medicine.
Can You Get Herpes From Spit
Coming in contact with herpes saliva carries a high risk of getting oral herpes . Can you get herpes from kissing if it is only a peck on the cheek? Or can you get herpes from kissing the genitals of a person with HSV? Remember that herpes does not discriminate between various types of kisses. Whether it is just a peck or a french kiss, you may contract herpes. The risk is higher when there are active herpes rashes or blisters on the skin of the infected person. Also, note that kissing isnt confined to the mouth and face alone. You can contract oral herpes when your mouth comes in contact with the genitals of a person infected with HSV. You may even get genital herpes from kissing, but the chances are less likely for someone to contract HSV-2 from kissing.
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How To Prevent Transmission Of The Herpes Simplex Virus
As mentioned above, the genital blisters and cold sores that appear during herpes outbreaks are highly contagious. To protect yourself from herpes infections, you should avoid oral contact with a person who has active symptoms around the mouth. You should avoid sexual activity with sexual partners with genital herpes.
Using a condom can help reduce the transmission of herpes and other sexually transmitted infections. However, this is not a foolproof method because the condom may not cover all areas of the skin, so you may still pass genital herpes to others. Remember, the virus can spread even if there are no noticeable symptoms.
If you have HSV-1 or HSV-2 and are worried about herpes transmission or frequent outbreaks, talk to your healthcare provider about suppressive therapy with antiviral drugs. Antiviral therapy can help to reduce the severity of subsequent outbreaks. Topical antiviral medications may be used to manage symptoms, i.e., relieve pain and itching during an outbreak. Also, oral and genital herpes treatment with antiviral medications can reduce the risk of transmission of the virus to others.
How To Talk To Your Partner
STDs can be a tricky, uncomfortable subject to talk about. Here are some tips for having a mature, productive discussion with your partner:
- Set your expectations upfront. If you want your partner, whether new or longtime, to use barrier methods, tell them and be firm about it. Its your body, and your partner has no right to tell you how to have sex.
- Be direct, open, and honest. If youre uncomfortable with having sex without first getting tested or using barrier methods, be clear about this and set the boundaries before you engage in any sexual activity. If you have an STI, let them know before having sex.
- Use barrier methods. Condoms, dental dams, and other protective barriers not only have a high chance of preventing pregnancy but also shielding you against almost all STIs.
- Above all, be understanding. Dont get mad at your partner or yourself if you find out that either of you has an STI. Not all of them are spread through sex alone, so dont assume that theyve cheated on you or kept a secret from you. Some people dont find out they have STIs until years later because of a lack of symptoms, so its important to trust your partner.
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How Is Genital Herpes Spread
If you do not have herpes, you can get infected if you come into contact with the herpes virus in:
- Saliva or genital secretions
- Skin in the oral area if your partner has an oral herpes infection, or skin in the genital area if your partner has a genital herpes infection.
You can get herpes from a sex partner who does not have a visible sore or who may not know he or she is infected. It is also possible to get genital herpes if you receive oral sex from a sex partner who has oral herpes.
You will not get herpes from toilet seats, bedding, or swimming pools, or from touching objects around you such as silverware, soap, or towels. If you have additional questions about how herpes is spread, consider discussing your concerns with a healthcare provider.
Why It’s Important To Tell Your Partner
Herpes viruses are extremely contagious. And it’s not just the risk of spreading a cold sore that you should be worried about.
This is because herpes can spread from the mouth to the genitals or from the genitals to the mouth. Skin-to-skin contact is all that is needed.
Having an open sore also increases your risk of an STI by providing the virus or bacteria a direct route into the body. Herpes can actually promote HIV infection by attracting the immune cells the HIV virus targets and infects.
To this end, it is just as important to discuss both of your sexual histories and not just herpes. As awkward as this may seem, it allows you both to explore whether it’s time to get STI testing from your healthcare provider or local health clinic.
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