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.
How Do Dermatologists Diagnose Herpes Simplex
During an outbreak, a dermatologist often can diagnose herpes simplex by looking at the sores. To confirm that a patient has herpes simplex, a dermatologist may take a swab from a sore and send this swab to a laboratory.
When sores are not present, other medical tests, such as blood tests, can find the herpes simplex virus.
Common Medications Used To Treat Herpes
While no drug can cure herpes, antiviral medication such as acyclovir can prevent the virus from multiplying. Taking an antiviral medication can help outbreaks clear up faster as well as help decrease the severity of symptoms.
For people who have less than six recurrent outbreaks of herpes per year, doctors typically use episodic treatment to manage symptoms. This means that each time a person has an outbreak, their doctor will prescribe a five-day course of antivirals.
If a person has more than six recurrent outbreaks of herpes per year, then the doctor may suggest suppressive treatment. This involves taking a daily antiviral treatment indefinitely with the goal of preventing future outbreaks. Suppressive treatment also substantially decreases the likelihood of passing herpes to a partner, but there is still a risk.
For more information on available treatment options, consult your healthcare provider. It can also be helpful to speak with a provider or counselor, or consult online resources, for guidance on how to talk to sexual partners about STIs.
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Why Is A Definitive Cure For Herpes Difficult
There are two vaccines for treating shingles, but there are no conventional medical treatments to cure herpes simplex.
This disease is caused by an easily spread virus that is transmitted by contact between two people and between different parts of the same persons body.
The virus encodes specific proteins that mimic interleukin by this method it evades the immune system response.
Interleukin is a protein that is found naturally in the human body as the main means of communication between cells when a microbial invasion occurs.
Another method the herpes virus uses to avoid detection by the immune system is through the downward regulation of the Major Histocompatibility Complex II in infected cells.
This complex is made up of a family of genes that are fundamental in activating the immune system against invasion by pathogenic organisms.
Due to the regulation of MHC II by the virus in the infected cells, immune response to fight it are not activated and therefore the virus spreads rapidly through healthy tissue.
In short, a permanent cure for herpes is difficult because the virus that causes the disease has been able to evade the action of our bodys immune system.
Can I Be Treated To Prevent Genital Herpes Transmission To My Partner
Yes. A large study showed that if one partner has herpes and the other partner is uninfected, treating the infected partner with suppressive therapy can prevent transmission of symptomatic herpes in over 90% of cases. This is an option for couples who are interested in having unprotected sex or who are planning to become pregnant.
If you are entering into a new relationship and are aware that you have herpes simplex infection, you owe it to your partner to notify them before having sex.
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Can Herpes Be Cured Permanently
Although we have publicized this herpes treatment through various means, there are still many people affected by the disease who ask questions such as: Is herpes curable? Is genital herpes curable? Can oral herpes be cured? or Can herpes be cured for good?
Such questions indicate there is still insufficient disclosure of the results of our research. For this reason, I gladly agreed to this interview on this website dedicated to divulging all about herpes.
We know many publications claim there is no cure for herpes and others offer answers as to why herpes cannot be cured?
What Happens If You Dont Get Herpes Treatment
The good news about herpes is that its not deadly or even very dangerous. It might be annoying, but herpes doesnt get worse over time or cause serious health problems like other STDs can.
If you dont get treated for herpes, you might keep having regular outbreaks, or they could only happen rarely. Some people naturally stop getting outbreaks after a while.
There are a few reasons people may decide not to get treatment. They might not have that many outbreaks, or their outbreaks dont really bother them. Or maybe theyre not having sex, so theyre not that worried about having herpes right now. Whatever your situation is, getting treatment for herpes is your choice.
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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.
Are Herpes Symptoms Permanent
No, herpes isn’t always ‘active’ a herpes infection always lies between a dormant phase, where it hibernates silently in your nerve cells and an activating phase. When the virus is active it is called an outbreak, which causes noticeable symptoms. An outbreak will depend on how the virus is activated in your body.
How often will I get symptoms? This varies from person to person. Some people get several outbreaks in a year and some have no outbreaks until many years after they are first infected. It is important to see your doctor if you have any herpes symptoms.
When would you be infectious to others? oral or genital herpes is most contagious during an outbreak. In between an outbreak, the virus is mostly dormant. During this phase viral shedding can happen. This stage is when the virus becomes active on your skin and is contagious. It may or may not cause you any symptoms. If viral shedding causes no symptoms, you can pass it to unknowing partners. You are not always infectious if you have herpes, but the virus is occasionally shed from your skin when there are no symptoms present. There is a risk of passing the infection on at any time you have it, but most of the time when you do not have an outbreak, you are not infectious.
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What Are The Complications Of Genital Herpes
Genital herpes may cause painful genital ulcers that can be severe and persistent in persons with suppressed immune systems, such as HIV-infected persons. 5 Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can also cause rare but serious complications such as aseptic meningitis . 5 Development of extragenital lesions may occur during the course of infection. 5
There are also potential complications for a pregnant woman and her newborn child. See How does herpes infection affect a pregnant woman and her baby? below for information about this.
Can I Still Have Sex If I Have Herpes
If you have herpes, you should talk to your sex partner about their risk. Using condoms may help lower this risk but it will not get rid of the risk completely. Having sores or other symptoms of herpes can increase your risk of spreading the disease. Even if you do not have any symptoms, you can still infect your sex partners.
You may have concerns about how genital herpes will impact your health, sex life, and relationships. While herpes is not curable, it is important to know that it is manageable with medicine. Daily suppressive therapy can lower your risk of spreading the virus to others. Talk to a healthcare provider about your concerns and treatment options.
A genital herpes diagnosis may affect how you will feel about current or future sexual relationships. Knowing how to talk to sexual partners about STDs is important.
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Is Herpes Simplex Related To Herpes Zoster
Like HSV-1 and HSV-2, shingles can cause a painful, blistering rash. The shingles rash usually shows up on the back, side, abdomen , neck and face. It is often only on half of your body, following the pattern of your nerves. See your healthcare provider if you have a new rash and suspect you may have shingles.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Herpes simplex is a virus. Once you have herpes, its a lifelong condition. A herpes infection can lead to outbreaks , but youll also have times when you have no symptoms. The main sign of herpes is sores that appear on the infected skin. Some people choose not to treat herpes, especially if symptoms are mild. Others take antiviral medications to reduce the severity and frequency of outbreaks.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/17/2022.
Risks And Side Effects
The three main treatments for herpes acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir are all FDA approved, though there are side effects and interactions to be aware of.
Common side effects of these antiviral medications include headaches and nausea. Famciclovir can cause dizziness or sleepiness, and confusion is predominantly seen in elderly patients.
Acyclovir and valacyclovir, which are very similar to each other, can cause your kidneys to stop working. If you have kidney problems, your doctor may prescribe a lower dose. These medications may interact with other medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , which may weaken kidney function.
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What Happens At A Sexual Health Clinic
The doctor or nurse at the sexual health clinic will:
- ask about your symptoms and your sexual partners
- use a small cotton bud to take some fluid from 1 of your blisters or sores for testing
The test cannot:
- be done if you do not have visible blisters or sores
- tell you how long you have had herpes or who you got it from
Symptoms might not appear for weeks or even years after youre infected with the herpes virus.
If you have genital herpes, your previous sexual partners should get tested.
The doctor or nurse at the clinic can discuss this with you and help you tell your partners without letting them know its you who has the virus.
So Cold Sores Are Only Caused By Hsv
Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can cause cold sores on the mouth and face.
Although its more common for HSV-1 to cause cold sores, it isnt impossible for HSV-2 to cause them, too.
- are caused by the herpes simplex virus
- usually develop near the outside of the mouth, such as below your nostrils or on your lips
- cause redness and fluid-filled blisters
- usually appear in groups
- eventually break and ooze, forming a crust-like scab
- may take 2 to 4 weeks to completely heal
- may be caused by food or chemical sensitivities, dietary deficiencies, minor injury, or stress
- may develop anywhere inside your mouth, such as at the base of your gum line, inside your lip, or under your tongue
- are shaped like a circle or oval
- are typically yellow or white with a red border
- may appear solo or in groups
- usually take 1 to 2 weeks to completely heal
HSV-1 is spread through direct contact with the virus, which can be present in or around cold sores, in oral secretions , and in genital secretions .
Some of the ways it can be transmitted include:
- kissing someone on the mouth
- sharing eating utensils or cups
- sharing lip balm
The herpes virus usually affects the area where it first made contact with the body.
Some of the ways HSV-2 can be transmitted include:
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Is There Any Resistance To Genital Herpes Medication
Resistance to drugs that treat genital herpes even after 20 years of use is very rare. Herpes medications may not work as well in patients who are very immunosuppressed and have been treated with these drugs for a long time. Each individuals response to treatment may vary. In some cases, patients may need more drugs to suppress their viral outbreaks than others.
How Do You Treat Herpes
Theres no cure for herpes, but prescription medications can ease symptoms, end outbreaks sooner, and lower the chances of passing the virus to other people.
You can also help ease the pain caused by herpes outbreaks by taking a warm bath, wearing loose clothing and putting an ice pack on the sores.
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Over The Counter Antivirals For Genital Herpes
- -Abreva is the only FDA-approved antiviral medication for herpes simplex that is available without a prescription. This medication slows the ability of the herpes virus to multiply in the body, which reduces symptoms and supports faster recovery.
- -Oral pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen arent antivirals, but theyre available over-the-counter to alleviate herpes-related pain and discomfort until your outbreak ends.
How Is Genital Herpes Diagnosed
HSV nucleic acid amplification tests are the most sensitive and highly specific tests available for diagnosing herpes. However, in some settings viral culture is the only test available. The sensitivity of viral culture can be low, especially among people who have recurrent or healing lesions. Because viral shedding is intermittent, it is possible for someone to have a genital herpes infection even though it was not detected by NAAT or culture. 11
Type-specific virologic tests can be used for diagnosing genital herpes when a person has recurrent symptoms or lesion without a confirmatory NAAT, culture result, or has a partner with genital herpes. Both virologic tests and type-specific serologic tests should be available in clinical settings serving patients with, or at risk for, sexually transmitted infections. 11
Given performance limitations with commercially available type-specific serologic tests , a confirmatory test with a second method should be performed before test interpretation. If confirmatory tests are unavailable, patients should be counseled about the limitations of available testing before serologic testing. Healthcare providers should also be aware that false-positive results occur. In instances of suspected recent acquisition, serologic testing within 12 weeks after acquisition may be associated with false negative test results. 11
Providers are strongly encouraged to look at CDCs STI Treatment Guidelines for further diagnostic considerations.
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It Will Still Take A Long Time Before These Experiments Lead To The First Human Trials Of Gene Therapy To Cure Herpes Jerome Estimates That Will Be At Least Three Years Away
The team attained its first promising results years ago using a single type of meganuclease that proved effective in cutting the herpes virus DNA, but the results were short-lived. The virus could rely on the infected cellsâ own DNA-repair programs â which donât distinguish between viral genes from their own â to fix the break most of the time.
But over time, the researchers found that they could eliminate up to 90% of the latent virus by using a mix of two or three different meganucleases. It is simply harder to repair two breaks than one. With more tinkering, the results continued to improve.
Herpes Simplex : Signs Symptoms Treatments And Cure Methods
Herpes simplex 2 is one of the two viruses that cause herpes. Herpes simplex 2 virus causes genital herpes, also known as herpes type 2. The other virus is known as herpes simplex 1 and causes orofacial herpes, also known as sores. Both herpes viruses can cause sores but the herpes simplex 2 causes sores in the genital area, unlike the herpes simplex 1 virus that causes sores in the facial area, mouth and neck.
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What Is The Herpes Virus
Herpes is a virus that causes skin sores. The medical term for it is the Herpes Simplex Virus . It most commonly produces sores on the mouth or genitals.
Herpes is very common and doesnt usually cause severe health problems. However, it is very contagious and there is no cure.
Can I Get Genital Herpes More Than Once
There isnt a cure for HSV-2, the virus that causes genital herpes. Infections can come back . Recurring symptoms are usually milder than the first outbreak. Symptoms dont last as long with later outbreaks. Some people may only have one or two outbreaks during their lifetime. Others may have as many as four or five outbreaks a year.
After infection, the virus moves from skin cells to nerve cells. In the nerve cells, it becomes inactive . Certain things may reactivate the virus, such as:
- Illness or fever.
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