Some Important Facts Affecting The Risk Of Herpes Transmission
- Herpes is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact
- The first outbreak is the most contagious
- There is a greater statistical chance of passing herpes when youâve been recently diagnosed whether you have symptoms or not
- Herpes infects skin areas that are thin and moist because itâs easier for the virus to penetrate those areas. For that reason, females are three times more likely to be infected than males
- Younger people having casual sex are more likely to contract herpes
- HSV-1 in the genital area recurs less often than HSV-2
- Being positive for HSV-2 gives some protection against getting HSV-1. The opposite is not true
- If a person with one type of herpes acquires a different type, the flare-up symptoms are milder
- Sex toys should not be shared. But if they are shared, they should be cleaned with water and soap before being used
Is There A Cure For Herpes Simplex
There is no cure for herpes simplex. Once you have the virus, its a lifelong infection.
What is the outlook for people with herpes simplex?
For many people, the first herpes outbreak is the most severe. Many outbreaks are less frequent and milder after the first year of infection. Some people may have only one outbreak and never have another again.
Herpes infection doesnt usually pose a serious health risk. The risk of a health complication due to herpes is higher in infants and if you have HIV/AIDS, cancer or an organ transplant.
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Treatment The First Time You Have Genital Herpes
You may be prescribed:
- antiviral medicine to stop the symptoms getting worse you need to start taking this within 5 days of the symptoms appearing
- cream for the pain
If you have had symptoms for more than 5 days before you go to a sexual health clinic, you can still get tested to find out the cause.
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Myth #: You Cant Contract Herpes If You Always Practice Safe Sex
Condoms only cover part of the area in which herpes can manifest, says Dr. Dweck, which means that they dont fully protect you from catching the virus.
For this reason, there is one way to practice mostly safe sex with respect to herpes. In other words, you cant protect yourself from getting it, but someone with herpes can protect you by taking what Dr. Dweck calls prophylactic antiviral medication, e.g. Valtrex, every day, whether theres an outbreak or not. I have a lot of patients who are in a discordant couple, meaning that one person has herpes and the other doesnt and they want to prevent transmission, says Dr. Dweck. The person who has it can take Valtrex to help prevent transmission.
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What Other Drugs Will Affect Zovirax
Acyclovir can harm your kidneys, especially if you also use certain medicines for infections, cancer, osteoporosis, organ transplant rejection, bowel disorders, high blood pressure, or pain or arthritis .
Other drugs may interact with acyclovir, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.
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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.
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About Herpes Suppressive Therapy
If you opt for suppressive therapy, one of the most common antiviral medications is Valtrex, or valacyclovir. Another commonly prescribed medication goes by the name of Zovirax, or acyclovir. Valacyclovir and acyclovir can be considered close cousins as they are chemically similar.
Read on for the details about how effective suppressive therapy is and how it can affect transmission rates. Well also go over dosing and side effects of this medication. Note: This isnt a substitute for medical advice. You should always consult your doctor to determine whats right for your health.
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What Happens If I Dont Get Treated
Genital herpes can cause painful genital sores and can be severe in people with suppressed immune systems.
If you touch your sores or the fluids from the sores, you may transfer herpes to another part of your body, such as your eyes. Do not touch the sores or fluids to avoid spreading herpes to another part of your body. If you do touch the sores or fluids, immediately wash your hands thoroughly to help avoid spreading your infection.
If you are pregnant, there can be problems for you and your developing fetus, or newborn baby. See Im pregnant. How could genital herpes affect my baby? above for information about this.
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Support And Advice For Genital Herpes
If you have just found out you have genital herpes, you may feel shocked and may have a lot of questions. It may help you to gather as much information as you can about herpes. This can help you to make fully informed decisions about your treatment, safe sex and preventing further recurrences. Talking to a counsellor about your concerns may also help.
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How To Stop Genital Herpes Outbreaks
Individuals who have immune systems that are weak have the tendency to get more incessant herpes outbreaks. So as to disallow outbreaks that are not pleasant, it is necessary that you take care of your entire wellbeing and boost your immune system. Also take a diet filled and high with lysine , they help disallow chronic genital outbreaks of herpes as well as diminish the severity of repetitive flare-ups. Additionally, examples of foods and nourishments rich in L-lysine are peas, eggs, nuts, beans, meat, lentils, and cheddar.
Other factors responsible for triggering the outbreaks of herpes, whether genital or not, is stress. This is true and real for both mental stress and also physical stress like tiredness and illness. Anything that supports or helps in the reduction of stress will also assist you in the reduction of any future outbreak occurrence of genital herpes. Inculcate a healthy eating habit, especially lots of fruits and veggies, this will assist you in maintaining a strong immune system.
In case you will be dealing with a severe and endless condition such as herpes, its not advisable to bear the cost of having a negative outlook. The way in which you see life and react to it matters a lot. Feeling negative and angry will build up stress inside of you. Chronic stress will incur significant damage to your body and impedes the function of your immune system.
How Will My Healthcare Provider Know If I Have Genital Herpes
Your healthcare provider may diagnose genital herpes by simply looking at any sores that are present. Providers can also take a sample from the sore and test it. If sores are not present, a blood test may be used to look for HSV antibodies.
Have an honest and open talk with your healthcare provider about herpes testing and other STDs.
Please note: A herpes blood test can help determine if you have herpes infection. It cannot tell you who gave you the infection or when you got the infection.
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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 Does Herpes Simplex Spread
Herpes spreads through close contact with a person who has the infection. The virus can be found in skin and saliva. If you have herpes simplex, you are most likely to pass the virus to another person when you have sores. But you can infect someone else even if you have no symptoms. Healthcare providers call this asymptomatic viral shedding.
People may get HSV-1 through
- Touching a persons skin near the mouth.
- Sharing food utensils, lip balm or razors.
- If you receive oral sex from someone who has a cold sore, it may spread a herpes infection to your genitals.
People may get HSV-2 through
- Oral sex with someone whos infected.
- Skin-to-skin contact without ejaculation.
- Touching open sores, including while breastfeeding.
- Childbirth by a mother or gestational parent who has an active infection.
You cant get genital herpes from objects like toilet seats. But you could pass genital herpes through shared sex toys.
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Treatment Of An Initial Outbreak
The first outbreak of genital herpes is usually much worse than recurrent outbreaks. Symptoms tend to be more severe and to last longer. Your provider will prescribe one of the three antiviral medications, which you will take for 7 to 10 days. If your symptoms persist, treatment may be extended. An acyclovir ointment may also be prescribed for topical treatment of initial genital herpes.
Other Uses For This Medicine
Acyclovir is also sometimes used to treat eczema herpeticum to treat and prevent herpes infections of the skin, eyes, nose, and mouth in patients with human immunodeficiency virus , and to treat oral hairy leukoplakia .
This medication may be prescribed for other uses ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Getting Genital Herpes
If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting genital herpes:
- Be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who is not infected with an STD
- Using latex condoms the right way every time you have sex.
Be aware that not all herpes sores occur in areas that are covered by a latex condom. Also, herpes virus can be released from areas of the skin that do not have a visible herpes sore. For these reasons, condoms may not fully protect you from getting herpes.
If you are in a relationship with a person known to have genital herpes, you can lower your risk of getting genital herpes if:
- Your partner takes an anti-herpes medication every day. This is something your partner should discuss with his or her doctor.
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How Can You Catch Herpes
Like most sexual transmitted infections , herpes is passed on when someone with an active outbreak of the virus has sexual intercourse with a partner. It may also be spread by contact with bodily fluids from an infected person, including blood, saliva, vaginal fluid, semen or any fluid expelled from a weeping herpes blister.
The virus is passed onto the other person through tiny breaks in the mucous membranes or skin. Because viruses are very small, herpes can easily spread even if the breaks are only microscopic. This means you cannot conduct a visual inspection of a partner and guarantee that they will not catch the disease.
It is also worth noting that while the virus is generally passed on during the phase when the blisters are visible on the skin, there is also the possibility of infection spreading even when blisters are not showing.
This is due to something called asymptomatic shedding. This is where the virus continues to shed into bodily fluids even when dormant. This kind of shedding is most common during the first 12 months of herpes infections. However, it may continue throughout the life of the infection and you cannot guarantee that because you have no visible sores that your partner will not be infected.
In a monogamous relationship, a female partner carries a substantially higher risk of contracting herpes from an infected male partner than vice-versa.
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How To Reduce Your Risk Of Contracting Herpes
Because herpes is so common, millions of new people are infected with the virus every year. Often, new infections are asymptomatic, meaning you might not know that you have been infected for months or years after contact with the person responsible.
If you do contract herpes, particularly HSV-1, its important to remember that its a very common virus. Its also easily treatable, with a wide range of highly effective medications available in the event you have an outbreak.
With this said, there are several ways to lower your risk of contracting herpes, particularly HSV-2 :
Avoid risky sexual behavior, such as having sex with multiple partners without the use of protection.
If you want to have unprotected sex with your partner, ask them about their HSV-2 status and, if required, consider asking them to see a physician about getting a herpes test.
If youre not sure about your sexual partners HSV-2 status, use a condom to cover up the potentially infected area and reduce the risk of HSV-2 transmission.
Avoid sexual activity with people that have visible sores on their mouth or genitals, such as lesions that resemble small bumps or pimples.
How To Prevent Herpes Infection Spread
Since there is no specific cure to Herpes Infection, it is better to prevent contracting the virus or prevent the spread of the infection to another person if you get it.
The steps to follow to prevent the spread of herpes infection-
- People who are diagnosed with herpes infection must avoid any physical contact with other people.
- Do Not share objects like utensils, toothbrushes, towels, clothes, cosmetics , lip balm, etc as these items can easily carry and pass the herpes virus from infected to healthy person.
- One must avoid any form of sexual activity with the partner if diagnosed with or have symptoms of herpes infections, till the doctor advises.
- Patients undergoing the treatment must follow proper hygiene guidelines, must wash hands regularly, apply any ointments or medicines to the sores using clean cotton swabs only.
- Pregnant women diagnosed with herpes infection can prevent spreading the infection to the unborn child by strictly taking the prescribed medications.
The steps to follow to prevent getting the herpes infections-
- Get regular tests done for any Sexually Transmitted Diseases .
- HPV vaccines can be taken to prevent getting certain strains of herpes virus that can cause cancer.
- Follow safe sexual practises- using condoms, using dental dams or condoms for oral sex, alert the sexual partner if you develop any symptoms of the herpes infection, etc.
- Follow good hygiene practices
?Symptoms and Prevention)
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Herpes Drugs Don’t Stop Herpes Shedding
Got Genital Herpes? You’re Still Infectious, Even if Drugs Cut Symptoms
Even when they don’t have an active herpes outbreak, people who carry genital herpes viruses are at risk of infecting their sex partners. With the discovery of drugs that prevent herpes outbreaks, there was hope that the drugs would also prevent herpes transmission. But there’s been troubling evidence that this may not be true.
Now University of Washington researcher Christine Johnston, MD, and colleagues show that people with no herpes symptoms often shed infectious genital herpes virus — even while taking very high doses of anti-herpes drugs.
“Short episodes of genital shedding occur frequently with antiviral therapy, even for high-dose regimens,” Johnston and colleagues report. “These breakthrough episodes are typically , last several hours, and occur at much the same rate irrespective of antiviral dose.”
One in 5 Americans and Europeans carries HSV-2, the virus that causes most cases of genital herpes HSV-1 causes some cases. Most people have few, if any, of genital herpes’ painful symptoms: blisters on or around the genitals or rectum.
There’s no cure for herpes infections. That’s because herpes viruses travel up nerves to take up latent form in the nerve root. Powerful anti-herpes drugs — acyclovir , famciclovir , and valacyclovir — prevent most outbreaks in most people. But they don’t eliminate virus hiding in nerve cells.
Frequency Of The Use Of Condoms
This one is an easy guess, as we know that condom reduces the chances of contracting STDs, it is no different in case of protection against the HSV2. The frequency of the use of condoms while having sex is directly proportional to the rate of the transmission of HSV2.
- It has been observed that the transmission rate of HSV2 in the person who has neverused a condomis 4.4%.
- The transmission rate of HSV2 in the person who is not frequent in using the condom is 3.8%
- The transmission rate of HSV2 in the person who nearly always uses the condom is 2.9%
The frequent use of condoms while having sex, reduces the chances of transmission of HSV2 in the susceptible partner.
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