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.
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.
Prevention Of Genital Herpes
Practicing safe sex can reduce the risk of transmitting the virus. This includes being monogamous, or having only one sexual partner, and using condoms or dental dams during sexual encounters.
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.
Also Check: What To Do For Herpes Breakout
How Can You Avoid Genital Herpes
Most women get genital herpes through sexual contactwith a person who has herpes sores. You can get thevirus without having sex. To avoid infection:
- Avoid skin-to-skin and sexual contact.
- Have safer sex:
- Reduce the number of sexual partners.
- Condoms, when used correctly, can reduce therisk of getting genital herpes. Each time you have sexuse a condom :
- Before vaginal sex
- Before oral sex
For more information, see Safer Sex.
What Is My Risk Of Spreading Herpes Herpes Transmission Risk
Last Updated on September 7, 2021 by Valinda Riggins Nwadike, MD, MPH
One of the most common questions we receive is about herpes transmission and the risk of spreading the virus to a new partner.
HSV1 & HSV2 is transmitted via skin-to-skin contact not bodily fluids, blood, surfaces, towels, bedding, toilets, or otherwise, just skin-to-skin contact. From there, inoculation must also occur for the infection to spread, and this happens via a point of entry into the system. Coming in contact with the virus on your arm, for example, wont necessarily lead to infection, unless your arm also has a small cut, abrasion, sore, or tear providing entry for the virus into the human body inoculation.
Don’t Miss: Can Herpes Be Cured If Caught Early
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 you’re infected with the herpes virus.
I Have Herpes But Im A Virgin How Is This Possible
By | Oct. 14, 2010, 11:43 a.m.
I have herpes on my lips, possibly in my nose, and in my private area. I am also a virgin. How did i get the std?! Ive had it since i was 14 ish, and at the time i had never even had a boyfriend. The only explination i can think of is that my mother has herpes and it was passed onto me during my birth. Is this true?
Some sexually transmitted infections, including herpes, can be passed from the mother to the fetus during pregnancy or the infant during birth. But most people with oral herpes get it during childhood from their parents, relatives, or other caretakers. Brief, direct contact like being kissed is all thats needed to pass the infection. On the rare occasion that herpes is passed from a woman to her fetus, it affects the general health and development of the fetus. It does not develop into oral or genital herpes.
People can also pass a herpes infection from one part of their bodies to another with their hands if they touch open herpes sores. Thats why its very important for people with herpes to always wash their hands carefully before touching their contact lenses or other things that come in close contact with the body.
You May Like: How To Date When You Have Herpes
How Do People Get Herpes
Herpes is transmitted through human-to-human contact, usually through kissing or sex. As long as there is skin contact, a person with herpes can infect another person, even when they are not exhibiting any symptoms.
Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 are notorious for lying dormant in nerve cells, where they can remain inactive for some time.
When the virus becomes active, it replicates and becomes transmittable through saliva and other body secretions. This process is called viral shedding. During this period, you may or may not experience symptoms.
Once a person becomes infected with the herpes simplex virus, the virus never leaves the body. As a result, the HSV infection may recur from time to time.
Before You Tell Them Practice
The one person youll definitely need to have the chat with is your sexual partner/s. This is very important even if you rarely experience herpes outbreaks, as genital herpes can be spread from an infected person into an uninfected person even without any visible outbreak symptoms.
Coming out as herpes positive can feel stressful and difficult, especially when its directed at a person you care about and with whom youd like a romantic or sexual future. Luckily, dating with herpes doesnt have to be such a big deal if you know how to address it.
One way to get over the nervousness of telling a partner you have herpes is to practice ahead of time. Make note of the key points you want to include and practice the script a few times in front of the mirror until you feel comfortable talking about.
You May Like: How To Stop Herpes Outbreaks Naturally
The Emotional Side Of Herpes
Many people feel embarrassed and ashamed upon learning that they have genital herpes, or theyre worried about getting it from a sexual partner or prospective sexual partner.
If either case describes you, take the time to educate yourself about the causes and symptoms of herpes, treatments, and steps you can take to stop the spread of herpes, such as using condoms.
Does A Cold Sore On My Mouth Mean I Have Genital Herpes
No, a cold sore on your mouth usually means you have herpes simplex virus type 1 . You can get HSV-1 by kissing someone or sharing utensils, towels, razors, or lipstick with someone who has HSV-1.
HSV-1 cannot turn into HSV-2 , but you can get a cold sore on your mouth from HSV-2 if you give oral sex to someone with HSV-2. Cold sores caused by HSV-1 or HSV-2 are contagious. You can spread it to other people or other parts of your body if you touch an open sore and then touch another part of your body. That means if you have a cold sore and give oral sex to someone, that person will get the herpes virus on his or her genitals.
Avoid touching your cold sore as much as possible. If you touch your cold sore, wash your hands right away to avoid spreading the infection to other parts of your body or other people.
Also Check: What Foods Cause Herpes Flare Ups
When Should You Call Your Doctor About Genital Herpes
With an initial outbreak, if an individual has signs or symptoms of a genital herpes infection, he or she should seek the care of a doctor as soon as possible, particularly if the diagnosis of genital herpes has not been previously established. Although genital herpes infections generally are not medical emergencies, treatment is more effective when it is started within the first few days of the outbreak.
Subsequent outbreaks rarely need immediate medical attention.
- If an individual has had a genital herpes outbreak before, discuss options for preventing further outbreaks with a doctor.
- People with severe underlying medical problems are at higher risk of severe illness if the disease is untreated. These individuals should contact a doctor immediately upon noticing genital herpes sores.
- A pregnant woman with signs or symptoms of genital herpes must inform her doctor as soon as possible. Prompt medical therapy may reduce the risk of transmitting the disease to newborn children by exposure in the birth canal.
In otherwise healthy people, genital herpes outbreaks rarely require hospital visits. If an individual is experiencing an initial episode of genital herpes and cannot be seen by a regular doctor within the first few days of the illness, it is advisable to go to a hospitals emergency department to have medical treatment started.
Can Genital Herpes Come Back
Yes. Genital herpes symptoms can come and go, but the virus stays inside your body even after all signs of the infection have gone away. The virus becomes âactiveâ from time to time, leading to an outbreak. Some people have outbreaks only once or twice. Other people may have four or five outbreaks within a year. Over time, the outbreaks usually happen less often and are less severe.
Experts do not know what causes the virus to become active. Some women say the virus comes back when they are sick, under stress, out in the sun, or during their period.
Recommended Reading: What Does Genital Herpes Feel Like
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- What is the best treatment for me?
- What are the side effects of antiviral medications?
- How can I reduce the risk of future outbreaks?
- Whats the best way to prevent getting another STI?
- How can I protect my partner from getting genital herpes?
- Should I look out for signs of complications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Millions of people are living with the herpes virus that causes genital herpes. Its a common STI. You shouldnt be embarrassed or put off seeking medical care if you develop symptoms. Treatments can ease symptoms, reduce outbreaks and protect sexual partners from infection. Having the virus shouldnt affect your relationships or sexual health. However, you do need to tell your sexual partners that you have the virus. Your healthcare provider can discuss ways to prevent spreading this STI.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/01/2021.
How To Know If You Have Herpes
This article was medically reviewed by Lacy Windham, MD. Dr. Windham is a board certified Obstetrician & Gynecologist in Tennessee. She attended medical school at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis and completed her residency at the Eastern Virginia Medical School in 2010, where she was awarded the Most Outstanding Resident in Maternal Fetal Medicine, Most Outstanding Resident in Oncology, and Most Outstanding Resident Overall.There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 842,512 times.
Research shows that around 1 out of every 6 people has some form of herpes.XTrustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source The herpes simplex viruses are the viruses responsible for oral and genital herpes infections, and they can cause sores, itching, painful urination, and vaginal discharge. Although doctors can treat symptoms, ease pain, and reduce the possibility of spreading the virus, herpes cannot be cured. Studies show that you can find out if you have herpes by examining high risk behaviors, recognizing the symptoms, and getting tested by a medical professional.XTrustworthy SourceFamilyDoctor.orgFamily-focused medical advice site run by the American Academy of Family DoctorsGo to source
Recommended Reading: What Does Herpes Simplex Look Like
What Is Genital Herpes Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention
Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. More than one in every six people between ages 14 and 49 living in the United States has genital herpes.
Most people infected with herpes dont even know it. They dont know because the infection often has no symptoms, very mild symptoms, or symptoms that mimic other health or skin problems. But the infection can cause small, painful sores to form on the genitals, thighs, or buttocks. If sores do arise, they typically go away within two to three weeks, but the virus stays in the body for life.
Lots and lots of people live normal, healthy lives with herpes, with some small degree of attention to protecting their partners during outbreaks, says I. Cori Baill, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist and an associate professor at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine in Orlando, Florida.
Genital herpes can be treated, but it cant be cured. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to prevent giving it to other people.
Recommended Reading: How Soon Can You Get Tested For Herpes
Genital Herpes Treatment In Pregnancy
You may be offered antiviral treatment:
- to treat outbreaks in pregnancy
- from 36 weeks to reduce the chance of an outbreak during birth
- from diagnosis until the birth if you first get herpes after 28 weeks of pregnancy
Many women with genital herpes have a vaginal delivery. You may be offered a caesarean, depending on your circumstances.
Don’t Miss: Where Can I Get Tested For Herpes For Free
Herpes Might Not Have Any Symptoms
You or your partner may not have any herpes symptoms that you can see or feel, or the signs of herpes may be so mild you dont even notice them. Sometimes people confuse herpes symptoms with other things, like pimples, ingrown hairs, and the flu.
Herpes symptoms come and go, but that doesnt mean the infection goes away or that you cant spread it to other people. Once you have herpes, it stays in your body for life.
Recommended Reading: How To Treat Herpes Cold Sores
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.
Read Also: Where Can You Go To Get Tested For Herpes
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.
Learn How To Manage Outbreaks
While thereâs no cure for genital herpes, there is a lot that can be done to reduce the length and severity of outbreaks.
A number of proven medications speed up the healing process and reduce discomfort. Antiviral medications like acyclovir and valacyclovir offer a simple way to control and minimize herpes outbreaks.
Start taking acyclovir as soon as you notice the first signs of an emerging outbreak. This medication stops the herpes virus from growing and spreading during an outbreak, though it canât remove the virus from your body completely. Most people experience relief within just a few days.
Improving lifestyle habits may also prevent future herpes outbreaks:
- Stay rested to support a strong immune system
- Eat nutritious foods to support your bodyâs innate healing response
- Use the Luminance RED
The Luminance RED nourishes the skin with red light, which is metabolized to accelerate the bodyâs healing process and to strengthen its defenses against future attacks. Regular use of the Luminance RED not only shortens the healing time of active outbreaks, but can also prevent future outbreaks altogether!
Donât Miss: How To Tell If You Have Oral Herpes
Read Also: Home Remedies For Genital Herpes Outbreaks