What Is Neonatal Herpes
Neonatal herpes can be a very serious infection. Babies generally contract the virus from their birthing parent during childbirth even if the parent doesnt have active lesions. They may also get HSV-1 if an adult with an active cold sore kisses them. Breastfeeding babies can also get HSV-1 from the breast if there are lesions present. But babies cant get herpes from breast milk, so its safe to pump and feed.
Herpes simplex can be more dangerous for young babies because they dont have a fully developed immune system. But most babies with neonatal herpes can recover fully with treatment.
The dangers of neonatal herpes are much higher if the infection spreads to the babys organs. If youre pregnant and have herpes, speak with your healthcare provider about how to lower the risk of passing the infection to your baby.
How Is Herpes Simplex Diagnosed
Healthcare providers may diagnose herpes simplex based on how the sores look. Your provider may take a sample from the sore. Laboratory analysis of the sample can confirm or rule out the herpes virus.
If you dont have sores, your healthcare provider can use a blood test to check for HSV-1 and HSV-2 antibody, a marker showing youve been exposed to the virus. The blood test doesnt show an active infection . But it informs your provider whether youve been exposed to the herpes virus in the past. If this is your first infection, you may not test positive for herpes if there hasnt been enough time for your body to develop antibodies. The HSV-1and HSV-2 antibody test may be repeated in eight to 12 weeks.
Suppressive Therapy For Recurrences
To suppress outbreaks, treatment requires taking pills daily on a long-term basis. Acyclovir and famciclovir are taken twice a day for suppression. Valacyclovir is taken once a day. The doses for these antiviral drugs are reduced in people with impaired renal function.
Suppressive treatment can reduce the frequency of outbreak recurrences by 70% to 80%. It is generally recommended for people who have frequent recurrences . Because herpes recurrences often diminish over time, you should discuss annually with your provider whether you should stay with drug therapy or discontinue it.
There is some evidence that valacyclovir may help prevent herpes transmission, particularly in situations where one heterosexual partner has HSV-2 and the other partner does not. However, this drug does not completely prevent transmission. While taking any suppressive therapy for genital herpes, it is still important to regularly use latex condoms and to avoid any sexual activity during recurrences.
How Does Genital Herpes Affect A Pregnant Woman And Her Baby
Neonatal herpes is one of the most serious complications of genital herpes.5,16 Healthcare providers should ask all pregnant women if they have a history of genital herpes.11 Herpes infection can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy or childbirth, or babies may be infected shortly after birth, resulting in a potentially fatal neonatal herpes infection. 17 Infants born to women who acquire genital herpes close to the time of delivery and are shedding virus at delivery are at a much higher risk for developing neonatal herpes, compared with women who have recurrent genital herpes . 16,18-20 Thus, it is important that women avoid contracting herpes during pregnancy. Women should be counseled to abstain from intercourse during the third trimester with partners known to have or suspected of having genital herpes. 5,11
What Else Should I Know
Genital herpes is a lifelong condition, but there are ways to manage it. If you have genital herpes:
- Take medicines to stop outbreaks or make them less frequent and less severe.
- Help reduce the risk of spreading genital herpes to others by taking medicines, always using a condom during sex, and avoiding sex during outbreaks.
You May Like: How Much Is Herpes Testing At Planned Parenthood
My Partner Has Herpes How Can I Avoid Getting It And And Still Have A Fulfilling Sex Life
I just found out the guy Ive been seeing for a couple weeks has herpes. Im full of questions, but one question I keep dwelling on is, how can people get pregnant without passing on herpes to their partner? How can I avoid getting herpes and still have a fulfilling sex life with him?
Its normal to have complicated feelings after you find out that your partner has herpes. Millions of people are living with herpes, and sharing your concerns with your partner and educating yourself on how its spread are good ways to protect yourself.
Genital herpes is spread from skin-to-skin contact with someone who has it including . Herpes can live on areas of your body that arent protected by condoms , so condoms wont always protect you from herpes. But they do lower your chances of getting herpes.
Here are other ways to avoid getting herpes from your partner:
Talk with your partner about taking herpes medicine every day, which can lower their chances of spreading herpes.
Dont have sex during a herpes outbreak, even with a condom. There may be sores on places the condom doesnt cover. Wait until the sores are totally gone, and the scabs heal and fall off.
Treatment For Genital Herpes
There is no medication to cure your body of the herpes virus. Treatment is aimed at easing symptoms, reducing the frequency of recurrences and reducing transmission.
Symptoms can be improved by:
- ice packs to the affected area
- pain-relieving medication such as paracetamol
- antiviral medication such as acyclovir, famciclovir and valaciclovir. These can reduce the severity of an episode if taken early enough . Topical antivirals usually used for cold sores on the lips or face are not suitable for use on the genitals.
You May Like: How Long Does The Herpes Outbreak Last
What Should I Do If I Have Genital Herpes
If you have genital herpes:
- See a doctor or nurse as soon as possible for testing and treatment.
- Take all of the medicine. Even if symptoms go away, you need to finish all of the antiviral medicine.
- Tell your sex partner so they can be tested and treated if necessary.
- Avoid any sexual contact while you are being treated for genital herpes or while you have an outbreak.
- Remember that genital herpes is a lifelong disease. Even though you may not have a genital herpes outbreak for long periods of time, you can still pass the virus to another person at any time. Talk with your doctor or nurse about how to prevent passing the virus to another person.
How Is This Possible
Sexually transmitted infectious particles dont hide in the way back of your holes .
Instead, these infectious particles can live on any internal or external skin or in bodily fluids, explains Dr. Felice Gersh, author of PCOS SOS: A Gynecologists Lifeline To Naturally Restore Your Rhythms, Hormones, and Happiness.
For this reason, certain STIs can be spread anytime theres skin-to-skin contact or when body fluids are spread, she says.
Important: Not every STI can be passed on through contact with every single section of skin or every single bodily fluid.
What segments of skin or which bodily fluids can transmit the STI depends on the particular STI. It also depends on where the STI is located, or if its considered a full-body STI.
Recommended Reading: What Is Herpes Zoster Infection
Recommended Reading: How Do You If You Have Herpes
What Can I Do If I Have Herpes Simplex 2
Many people who find out they have herpes feel depressed knowing they’ll always have the virus and can give it to others. But you arent alone. Herpes is one of the most common STIs, both in the U.S. and worldwide. If you have herpes, you should:
- Learn all you can about it. Information will help you to manage your disease and feel better about yourself.
- Talk about your illness with your doctor.
If you have herpes, you can still:
- Have sex if you use a condom or dental dam , and you tell your partner about your illness. Some couples, who have sexual relations only with each other, may choose not to use condoms even though one partner has herpes. Because each situation is different, you should ask your doctor if this is the right choice for you in your relationship.
- Have children. People with herpes can still give birth to healthy babies. If you have herpes and plan to have children, discuss your illness with your healthcare provider.
If you have herpes, you should also get checked for HIV and other STIs .
Myth #: Herpes Is A Really Big Deal
This one is my favorite, having watched a number of friends be traumatized by diagnoses, only to later realize that ultimately, herpes is not that big of a deal.
For starters, Dr. Dweck tells me that one-third of the sexually-active population has been exposed to herpes. Hawkins offers more specific, but equally staggering, numbers as well she says that one-half of the population has oral herpes and one-sixth of the population aged 14 to 49 has genital herpes.
Whats more, my OB/GYN points out that the virus is more so inconvenient than it is nefarious, meaning that while outbreaks, especially your first, can be painful, theyre not doing you any health harm overall. And if you do have significant recurrent outbreaks, theres a medication for that.
For all of these reasons, pros tend to agree that the outsized stigma around herpes is unwarranted and often, its the worst part of being infected. In reality, theres no reason herpes should make someone feel like a social pariah or that it should remain such a closeted, shameful condition.
The fact that so many people are living with this and having the same experiences but we dont talk about it, its really a shame because we could definitely support each other in ways were currently not doing, says Hawkins. Herpes is, of course, not something people would want, but its not as big of a deal as people make it out to be.
You May Like: How To Get Rid Of Herpes At Home
How Can I Best Learn To Cope With Herpes Simplex
Some people feel distressed or embarrassed about their herpes simplex infection. Its important to understand that the herpes virus is common. For most people, herpes doesnt significantly interfere with daily life.
To cope with negative feelings, you may consider:
- Connecting with others through support groups or online forums.
- Sharing your feelings with a trusted friend or loved one.
- Speaking with a therapist.
Is It Safe To Breastfeed If I Have Genital Herpes
Yes as long as there isnt an open lesion on your chest or breast. If you have an active outbreak while breastfeeding, its possible to spread the infection to your nipples through touch. Careful hand-washing can prevent this spread. You shouldnt nurse from a breast that has herpes sores. You can pump breast milk until the sores heal. Dont give your baby expressed breast milk if the pump comes into contact with an open sore.
Also Check: How To Manage Herpes 2
Can You Catch Pubic Lice Without Being Sexually Active
Pubic Lice are spread through close bodily contact with someone that has them. They are most commonly transmitted through sexual contact, even if you practise safe sex. However, you can catch Pubic Lice without being sexually active through other close contact activities such as hugging and kissing.
Usually, Pubic Lice will only leave one body for another as they need human blood to survive. However, although rare, it is possible for Pubic Lice to be spread through the immediate sharing of unwashed clothing, towels and bedding.
Pubic Lice are not related to poor personal hygiene and cannot be contracted without coming into close contact with somebody that already has them, regardless of personal hygiene levels. Similarly, you cannot catch pubic lice from regular head lice.
Also Check: How Long Does The Herpes Outbreak Last
What Causes Human Papillomavirus
Less commonly, HPV can be transmitted non-sexually. Many instruments used by healthcare providers are reusable. Metal tools, such as vaginal speculums, are used on a patient and disinfected before being placed in new packaging and then reused. Some research has shown that HPV can potentially be spread to patients via metal reusable tools, despite disinfection.
Also Check: What Topical Cream Can I Use For Genital Herpes
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.
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.
Get updates from hims
Read Also: How To Live With Genital Herpes
Read Also: How To Test For Herpes Type 2
What Is The Difference Between Genital Herpes And Genital Warts
Both genital herpes and are STIs, are spread through skin-to-skin contact, and are caused by a virus. But the viruses that cause genital herpes and genital warts are different:
- Herpes simplex virus is the virus that causes genital herpes.
- is the virus that causes genital warts.
There is no cure for either genital herpes or genital warts. But, different medicines can help manage the symptoms of herpes and treat the complications of HPV infections that can cause genital warts.
How Do You Know If You Have Genital Herpes
The only way to know if you have genital herpes is by amedical exam. Your health care provider can examineyou and test for it. Lab samples are taken from a sore,blister, or blood. Your health care provider may ask totest you for other infections at the same time.
Tell current and most recent sex partners of your herpes infection.
Also Check: What Cream Can You Use For Herpes
Alternative And Complementary Therapies
Although its not known for certain what triggers herpes outbreaks, they are often associated with fatigue, stress, and illness. Mind-body interventions that reduce stress, such as meditation and yoga, may therefore be helpful in reducing outbreaks.
Getting adequate sleep and following a nutritious diet are also important for maintaining a healthy immune system and helpful for managing life stresses.
Certain supplements and herbal remedies have been tried for preventing herpes outbreaks or easing the symptoms of an outbreak. To date, however, theres insufficient data to conclude that any of them is safe and effective for this use.
If you wish to try a complementary therapy for genital herpes, speak to your doctor first to make sure the product you want to try wont interfere with any medications or other therapies youre currently using.
No Need To Be Overly Worried About Non
As for shared items such as toilet seats, the risk of contracting herpes from another person this way is almost zero. Transmission of the virus via routes like sharing bed linen, clothing, towels, eating utensils, shared cups/glasses, and in public spas is less likely. The take home message is that the majority of herpes cases are spread through intimate contact.
Read Also: What To Do If Your Partner Has Herpes
Prevention Of Genital Herpes
Herpes can spread from areas of the body not covered by condoms, though. The virus can live on your thighs and buttocks, for instance.
Nonetheless, even though condoms cant work all the time, regular use of condoms can reduce the risk of transmission. For greatest protection, use condoms and dental dams consistently, not just during outbreaks.
Other steps to lower the risk that you will spread herpes to another person include the following:
- Learn what it feels like for you when an outbreak is starting, and stop having sex as soon as you sense that feeling.
- Avoid sex completely during active outbreaks. Condoms cant completely cover infectious areas and cannot be counted on during such times.
- Wait for all sores to scab over and heal before having sex again.
- Avoid touching your herpes sores, because you can spread the germs around your body that way. If you touch a sore, wash your hands right away.
- Dont kiss anyone especially pregnant women, babies, or children or have sex when you have a cold sore.
- Tell a prospective sex partner about having herpes before you have sex with them, even though it may be hard.
- Ask your doctor about taking antiviral drugs to control herpes.