Can You Test For Herpes At Home
Yes, there are at-home sexually transmitted infection tests for herpes.
Read more about at-home herpes tests here.
What Happens If You Leave Herpes Untreated
Many people who contract herpes dont realize it. This comes down to the fact that herpes doesnt always show obvious signs and symptoms, and when herpes symptoms do show – they can sometimes be quite mild.
Without regular sexual health testing, its possible to have the virus, not know, and, ultimately leave it untreated. Unfortunately, there are some notable complications associated with untreated herpes, particularly untreated genital herpes, these include:
- Increased risk of contracting other sexually transmitted infections
- Babies can be exposed to the virus during birth
- Inflammation in the bladder or the lining of the rectum
What Are Herpes Antibodies
Antibodies are proteins the body makes to help fight infection and prevent future infections.
HSV-1 and HSV-2 antibodies are proteins that have formed due to the presence of the HSV-1 or HSV-2 virus. An immunoglobulin G blood test detects these proteins in the blood and can tell if a person has ever experienced an infection with either virus.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do not recommend herpes testing for people without symptoms. There is no evidence that having a herpes diagnosis changes peoples sexual behavior and prevents herpes from spreading.
People who are pregnant may wish to have a herpes antibody test. A baby can contract herpes during vaginal childbirth. Herpes can be life threatening to newborn babies.
People may also wish to have a herpes antibody test if they:
- have had sexual contact with someone with herpes
- have a specific clinical reason for determining their HSV status
- have another reason for wanting to know their HSV status, such as having multiple sexual partners
Recommended Reading: Will Antifungal Cream Help Herpes
How Can I Protect My Sex Partners
You can take steps to protect others from herpes. Keep in mind that you can spread it even when you dont have symptoms.
Avoid sex during outbreaks: Youre more likely to give your partner herpes while you have an outbreak. Avoid sexual contact from the time you notice the first signs, such as tingling or pain, until the scabs fall off and your skin is back to normal.
Try not to touch your sores: If you do, wash your hands right away. A good cleaning may stop the spread to another part of your body or to your partner.
Use condoms: They wont totally protect your partner, but they can lower the chances of spreading the virus.
Talk to your doctor: They might prescribe a drug to make it less likely youll give herpes to someone else. As with condoms, the medicine wont 100% protect your partner.
Read Also: How Can One Get Herpes
What Are The Different Types Of Herpes
There are two types of herpes simplex virus: HSV I and HSV II. HSV I commonly causes oral herpes, or cold sores. This virus can show up as an upper respiratory tract infection during early childhood. HSV II is the cause of most cases of genital herpes. However, it is possible for HSV I to cause genital herpes and HSV II to cause oral herpes.
Clinicians cannot tell the difference between the two types by physical examination alone, but there are differences between the two viruses. For example, genital herpes caused by HSV II is much more likely to recur. This diagnosis can be helpful in establishing a health care plan.
Recommended Reading: How Does Herpes Look Like
Recommended Reading: How To Get Rid Of Herpes Sores
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.
Can Women Who Have Sex With Women Get Genital Herpes
Yes. It is possible to get genital herpes, or any other STI, if you are a woman who has sex only with women.
Talk to your partner about her sexual history before having sex, and ask your doctor or nurse about getting tested if you have signs or symptoms of genital herpes. Use a dental dam during oral sex and avoid sexual activity during an outbreak.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Rid Of Herpes Inside Mouth
How Can I Tell A Cold Sore Isnt Just A Giant Zit
Cold sores usually look and feel a little different from pimples. Before a cold sore hits the surface, you might feel a sharp shooting pain or burning sensation that hurts more than a zit. And cold sores generally crop up right near the mouth, on the outer edge of the lips. Appearance-wise, most cold sores start out looking blistery red and fluid-filled before breaking and scabbing over. They last for about a week. Still, not every cold sore looks exactly like this. Sometimes an outbreak can look more like a really chapped area on your lip.
If the cold sore is in your genital area, you may feel some pain while peeing. Right before an outbreak you may also get some flu-like symptoms, like tiredness, aches, and swollen glands.
Clinical Studies Show Light Treatment Helps Prevent Outbreaks
Clinical studies have repeatedly demonstrated the power of treatment with light to prevent herpes simplex outbreak.
In a study of participants with at least one herpes attack per month for more than six months, patients who received treatment with light averaged 37.5 weeks before their next cold sore episode, compared to only 3 weeks for the patients who did not receive treatment.
Another study found that patients who received treatment had a 49% reduction in time to heal compared to those who had no treatment. The treatment group took an average time to heal of 2.2 days, while the non-treatment group took 4.3 days.
This is exactly why Luminance RED was designed with ideal wavelength and irradiance specifications to maximize efficiency in treating and preventing cold sore outbreaks. Thanks to Luminance RED, light therapy has become one of the simplest and most effective ways to get rid of your cold sores forever.
Read Also: How To Kill Herpes Virus On Surfaces
What Are The Signs Of Herpes In Men
In about two-thirds of cases, men will have no symptoms of herpes. Symptoms of herpes in men may include:
It is unclear if genital herpes affects fertility in men because it affects such a large part of the population. However, a recent study found that herpes may lower the sperm count in men and may have an effect on mens ability to get pregnant with a partner.
Also Check: Can Chlamydia Turn Into Herpes
Treatment Vs Preventative Vaccines
The biggest difference between treatment and preventative vaccines is which groups of people they would benefit. Treatment vaccines are intended for people who have been infected with HSV, boosting the immune system to fight the virus. They would help improve symptoms, help blisters heal faster, and lower the risk of spreading the virus to other people.
The second type of vaccine a preventative vaccine is the most common type of vaccine we get as children and adults, helping to train our immune system against a germ before we encounter it. In other words, a preventative HSV vaccine would prevent you from being infected with HSV. The and the are examples of preventative herpes vaccines currently available, but they will not prevent HSV-1 and HSV-2.
You May Like: How Accurate Are At Home Herpes Tests
Can I Treat Herpes Simplex At Home
Avoiding known triggers, such as illness or stress, can help reduce how often you have herpes outbreaks.
How can I ease my symptoms during an outbreak of HSV-1 ?
- Over-the-counter creams such as L-lysine, benzocaine or docosanol .
- Applying ice to blisters or sores.
How can I ease my symptoms during an outbreak of HSV-2 ?
- Apply an ice pack to your genitals. Wrap the ice pack in a washcloth or apply it over your underwear.
- Keep your genitals dry. Wear cotton or other nonsynthetic underpants and avoid tight-fitting clothes. Moist sores take longer to heal.
- Soak in a warm bath.
- Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain.
- Topical 1% or 2% lidocaine may be used as a topical analgesic.
Shingles Can Get In The Eyes
And in a frightening complication, shingles can affect the eyes and lead to loss of vision.
The number of Americans diagnosed with these eye complications tripled between 2004 and 2016, according to a large study researchers from the University of Michigans Kellogg Eye Center presented last week at the 2019 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology annual meeting in Vancouver.
In fact, the eyes are involved in about 15 percent of people who develop shingles, said Dr. Ivan Schwab, a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology and a professor of ophthalmology at the University of California, Davis.
What happens, Schwab explained, is that shingles follows a single branch of nerves. If it affects the branch that goes to the face, the eyes can be involved. Along with the pain, it can damage vision or cause blindness in a small percentage of patients.
Others may have less damage, but enough to affect their lives, Schwab said. A surgeon, for example, may no longer be able to operate.
Dont Miss: Can You Get Herpes From Kissing Someone
Recommended Reading: How Long It Takes For Herpes To Show
How Dormant Herpes Springs Back To Life
Researchers may have finally revealed the way that herpes is able to go into and come out of hiding.
A herpes simplex virus infection lasts for life. No vaccination can prevent it, and no treatment can fully eradicate it.
The problem for doctors is that, most of the time, herpes lies dormant in nerve cells and becomes treatable only during unpredictable periods of activity.
Now, researchers many from Cornell Universitys Baker Institute for Animal Health, in Ithaca, NY may have discovered what allows the genes in HSV to sometimes turn on.
The researchers have found that herpes viral DNA sometimes escapes suppressive protein wrappings in nerve cells and becomes reactivated.
Luis M. Schang, Ph.D., the senior author of the summary of these findings, explains that herpes on-again-off-again nature is why antivirals cannot cure the infection and why, so far, its been impossible to develop a vaccine. He points out that Latency and reactivation are a major focus for herpes virus research.
The teams findings may provide the key to more successful HSV research and treatment. A summary of their work appears in PLOS Pathogens.
3.7 billion people under the age of 50 have an HSV-1 infection, which usually causes oral herpes. They also report that 417 million people aged 1549 have an HSV-2 infection, which usually causes genital herpes.
In addition, among people with compromised immune systems, the symptoms of herpes infection may be more severe and frequent.
How Long Does A Herpes Outbreak Last
Herpes outbreaks usually last for about one to two weeks, though the first outbreak after infection may last longer. The symptoms typically go away on their own without treatment. However, there are at-home remedies and prescription treatments which may help to ease symptoms and shorten the length of outbreaks. Herpes outbreaks may continue to occur, but many people find that they become shorter and less severe over time.
You May Like: Is It Possible For Herpes To Go Away
Herpes Symptoms And Signs
In order to diagnose herpes, a health care provider can swab an area of visibly active herpes infection or, if symptoms arent active, a blood test can be given that measures the number of herpes antibodies present in the body. The antibodies dont indicate herpes itself, but rather show the immune systems response to the presence of the virus in the body. Its important to note that sometimes a swab can give false negative results since herpes lesions need to be large enough to yield enough detectable virus and if the outbreak is already healing it also may not be detected in a swab.
The most common herpes symptoms include:
- Developing either a single cold sore or cluster of multiple cold sores that form on the lips, inside the mouth, or on the genitals, buttocks and upper thighs.
- Sores can sometimes be severe, painful and rupture and cause fluid to be secreted out.
- Some herpes canker sores develop a thin, white coating and burn when touched while they healing.
- Around herpes cold sores, its common to feel pain, tenderness and other symptoms of a rash, such as redness or signs of swelling.
- Some people are able to tell before an outbreak if one is going to occur because they feel tingling, itchy sensations near the affected area.
- Some people develop other symptoms during herpes outbreaks that are similar to those caused by a cold or the flu. This may include fatigue, irritability, aches or a slight fever.
How To Maximize Hygiene And Minimize Infections
Although theres no cure for herpes and no way to eliminate outbreaks entirely, you can take measures to protect yourself and others from contracting the virus.
If youre experiencing an outbreak or know somebody who is, use these tips to ensure the best hygiene habits:
- – Avoid direct physical contact
- – Dont share items such as cups, towels, silverware, or lip balm
- – Wash hands thoroughly and frequently
- – Apply medication with cotton swabs to reduce contact with sores
- – Dont pick at your sores or touch them with your hands
Also Check: How Long Can Someone Have Herpes Without Knowing
Other Infections And Complications
). Transmission usually occurs at birth, when the baby comes into contact with infected secretions in the birth canal. Rarely, HSV is transmitted to the fetus during pregnancy. Transmission during birth is more likely when
The mother has recently acquired the herpes infection
The mother has visible herpes sores in the vaginal area, although babies may become infected from mothers who have no apparent sores
When acquired at birth, the infection appears between the 1st and 4th week of life. Newborns with HSV infection become very ill. They may have widespread disease, brain infection, or skin infection. Without treatment, about 85% of those with widespread disease and about half of those with a brain infection die. Even with treatment, many have brain damage.
Recommended Reading: Can You Sue For Herpes
Can Stds Go Away On Their Own
by CourteneyPublished on February 18, 2021Updated on March 25, 2021
Can STDs go away on their own? People may hope that STDs will clear up on their own because they want to avoid getting tested and everything that goes with it: the embarrassment of going to a clinic or your doctor, the hassle of getting a prescription, and broaching the subject with your partner.
Contrary to popular STD myths, most STDs will not clear up on their own, and many get worse the longer they go without being treated, causing more and more harm to your health. To go into why and how to treat different STDs, lets first break them down into their three main categories: bacterial, parasitic, and viral.
You May Like: How To Get Rid Of Herpes On Tongue
Medical Treatment For Oral Herpes
Oral herpes symptoms may resolve without treatment within one to two weeks.
If needed, your healthcare provider will prescribe certain antiviral medications to treat your condition. These medications help with any pain you may be experiencing as well as alleviate symptoms more quickly.
Medications that are used to treat HSV-1 include acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir, which are most effective if taken when initial warning signs of an incoming flare-up appear and before blisters develop.
What You Need To Know
- Herpes simplex virus , also known as genital herpes, is most likely to be spread when an infected person is having an outbreak, but it can also be transmitted without any symptoms being present.
- Medications can help reduce your symptoms, speed up the healing of an outbreak and make you less contagious.
- If you know 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, cesarean section may be recommended.
Also Check: Does Herpes Affect Your Kidneys
How Common Is Genital Herpes
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 40 million to 50 million adults in the United States have genital herpes. HSV II infection is more common in women and in people who have had more than five sexual partners. Most people with HSV II do not know they have it, because it does not always cause symptoms.