Whats The Difference Between Genital Herpes And Oral Herpes
Because there are 2 different kinds of herpes simplex viruses that can live on many body parts, lots of people are confused about what to call these infections. But its actually pretty simple:
When you get either HSV-1 or HSV-2 on or around your genitals , its called genital herpes.
When you get either HSV-1 or HSV-2 in or around your lips, mouth, and throat, its called oral herpes. Oral herpes sores are sometimes called cold sores or fever blisters.
HSV-1 usually causes oral herpes, and HSV-2 usually causes genital herpes each strain prefers to live on its favorite area. But its totally possible for both types of herpes simplex to infect either area. For example, you can get HSV-1 on your genitals if someone with a cold sore on their lips gives you oral sex. And you can get HSV-2 in your mouth if you give oral sex to someone with HSV-2 on their genitals.
Can Genital Herpes Be Prevented
It is safest to:
- always use condoms and dental dams, even when there are no sores or blisters present
- avoid sex when there are sores or blisters present you are most infectious at this time
- avoid sex with someone who has any blisters, sores or other symptoms of genital herpes
- avoid oral sex when there is any sign of a cold sore
Herpes Through Indirect Contact
Less commonly, it is possible to contract herpes without skin contact.
This could involve sharing personal products that touch the sores or saliva of an infected person, like razors, washcloths, or other facial care products.
It could also involve sharing cups or utensils.
However, these are not primary ways that herpes spreads.
Anyone with an active cold sore or herpes blister should avoid allowing anyone else to come into contact with the sores, and should not kiss or share utensils or other objects that have saliva on them until the outbreak is over.
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Can I Catch Herpes Simplex Off Towels Cups Or Anything
No, you will not catch it off anything. The virus is caught from the skin, not from objects. It is a delicate virus and dies quickly when away from the skin where the sore is. There is more about transmission in our Transmission leaflet available to members. This statement is taken from the guidelines for doctors produced by the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV.
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.
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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.
Can You Get Herpes From Spit
Coming in contact with herpes saliva carries a high risk of getting oral herpes . Can you get herpes from kissing if it is only a peck on the cheek? Or can you get herpes from kissing the genitals of a person with HSV? Remember that herpes does not discriminate between various types of kisses. Whether it is just a peck or a french kiss, you may contract herpes. The risk is higher when there are active herpes rashes or blisters on the skin of the infected person. Also, note that kissing isnt confined to the mouth and face alone. You can contract oral herpes when your mouth comes in contact with the genitals of a person infected with HSV. You may even get genital herpes from kissing, but the chances are less likely for someone to contract HSV-2 from kissing.
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How Do I Know If I Have Genital Herpes
Most people with genital herpes have no symptoms or have very mild symptoms. Mild symptoms may go unnoticed or be mistaken for other skin conditions like a pimple or ingrown hair. Because of this, most people do not know they have a herpes infection.
Herpes sores usually appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals, rectum or mouth. This is known as having an outbreak. The blisters break and leave painful sores that may take a week or more to heal. Flu-like symptoms also may occur during the first outbreak.
People who experience an initial outbreak of herpes can have repeated outbreaks, especially if they have HSV-2. However, repeat outbreaks are usually shorter and less severe than the first outbreak. Although genital herpes is a lifelong infection, the number of outbreaks may decrease over time.
Ask a healthcare provider to examine you if:
- You notice any symptoms or
- Your partner has an STD or symptoms of an STD.
STD symptoms can include an unusual sore, a smelly genital discharge, burning when peeing, or bleeding between periods .
Herpes May Be More Common Than You Think
The World Health Organization estimates that globally, 3.7 billion people younger than 50 have oral herpes and 417 million people aged 15-49 have genital herpes.
Dr. Maya Benitez says there has always been a stigma surrounding sexually transmitted diseases, especially herpes.
Stigma aside, it’s stressful to be diagnosed with something with no cure and no direct definitive treatment. And anxiety and stress can trigger outbreaks, says Dr. Benitez.
“It is important for people to learn about the disease and understand it, so that if diagnosed, people will know how to live with it,” she says.
“The likelihood of contracting herpes from toilet seats, bedding, or swimming pools, or from sharing objects such as silverware, soap, or towels is low, but it is possible”
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How Serious Is Herpes For A Baby
Sometimes neonatal herpes will only affect the baby’s eyes, mouth or skin.
In these cases, most babies will make a complete recovery with antiviral treatment.
But the condition is much more serious if it has spread to the baby’s organs.
Many infants with this type of neonatal herpes will die, even after they have been treated.
If widespread herpes is not treated immediately, there’s a high chance the baby will die.
Is There A Way To Prevent Stds From Kissing
Abstinence is the only way to completely prevent oral STDs. But kissing is enjoyable, and may even have some health benefits.
If you like kissing, here are some strategies for lowering your chances of getting an oral STD:
Avoid kissing if you or your partner have any sores or cuts in the mouth.
Dont bite while kissing.
Dont brush or floss right before/after kissing.
Practice good, regular dental hygiene.
Avoid kissing if you feel sick.
If you enjoy using your mouth for other sexual activities, like oral sex, use a barrier like a dental dam or condom.
Get vaccinated against HPV and hepatitis B.
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What If My Partner Already Has Cold Sores On The Face Or Anywhere
If your new partner has had cold sores in the past, this either means that they have the same herpes virus as you, or will have the other type . When you both have the same type, it is highly unlikely that either of you will reinfect the other anywhere on the body. If you have different types and either of you catches a second type, symptoms will probably be slight or non-existent. This is because the antibodies for one type will have some immediate effect on the other type as well. It is called partial protection.
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.
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How Can I Avoid Getting Herpes
The best way to prevent the transmission of herpes is by using a condom or other barrier method of protection. Using protection is especially important if you know that your partner has herpes. You can typically prevent the transmission of oral herpes by avoiding skin-to-skin contact with an infected person during an outbreak. If someone has a fever blister or cold sore, do not kiss them or receive oral sex from them until the sores are fully healed.
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What Is Genital Herpes
As many as 1 in 8 sexually active Australian adults have genital herpes.
If you think you have genital herpes, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible to confirm the diagnosis and start treatment.
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Key Points About Cold Sores In Children
Cold sores are small blisters around the mouth caused by the herpes simplex virus.
The herpes simplex virus in a cold sore is contagious. It can be spread to others by kissing, sharing cups or utensils, sharing washcloths or towels, or by touching the cold sore before it is healed. The virus can also be spread to others 24 to 48 hours before the cold sore appears.
Symptoms include a small blister or group of blisters on the lips and mouth that enlarge, leak fluid, then crust over.
In most children, cold sores do not cause serious illness. In some cases, the herpes simplex virus can cause inflammation of the brain . This is a serious illness and needs to be treated right away.
If your child has a cold sore, make sure he or she does not kiss, share cups or utensils, share washcloths or towels, or touch the cold sore.
Can You Get Herpes From Kissing An Inanimate Object
Keep in mind that oral herpes can be transmitted via saliva. So, when you kiss or come in contact with an object with the saliva of a herpes-positive person, such as a lip balm, you may get herpes. However, HSV cannot survive long outside the body, so the possibility of getting herpes from an inanimate object is very low. But that does not mean you should let your guard down and take the risk. Always try to use your own stuff and opt for an STD test if you suspect that you may have contracted HSV.
Dont keep wondering, can you get herpes from kissing if you just learned that the person you kissed has herpes. While you may or may not have contracted the disease, timely testing and treatment are always better than living with the anxiety of whether or not can you get herpes from kissing. So, can you get herpes by kissing a person who carries the virus? Yes, you might. But there are various barrier methods to prevent the transmission of both HSV-1 and HSV-2, such as condoms, dental barriers, and refraining from kissing during outbreaks.
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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.
What Stds Can Be Spread Through Kissing
Small microorganisms can cause STDs. Some of these microorganisms can live in your saliva, or they can cause sores in your mouth. This makes it easier for them to spread between people when they kiss, especially during deep, open-mouthed kissing.
Lets break it down into what STDs you can and cant get from kissing.
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How Is Genital Herpes Treated
There is no cure for genital herpes. However, it is possible to reduce the symptoms using anti-viral medicine. This is most effective when started within 72 hours of the first symptoms.
Medicines can help control outbreaks if they are frequent or severe. Anti-viral medicine can reduce the risk from passing the virus on to a sexual partner.
The symptoms can also be helped by:
- gently bathing the area with a warm salt solution
- pain medicine, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
- local anaesthetic ointment or cream
- urinating while sitting in a warm bath, if urination is painful
What Happens If I Dont Receive Treatment
Genital herpes can cause painful genital sores and can be severe in people with suppressed immune systems.
If you touch your sores or fluids from the sores, you may transfer herpes to another body part like 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, quickly wash your hands thoroughly to help avoid spreading the infection.
If you are pregnant, there can be problems for you and your unborn fetus, or newborn baby. See Im pregnant. How could genital herpes affect my baby? for information about this.
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How To Protect Yourself Against Genital Herpes During Pregnancy
If you are pregnant and your partner has genital herpes, it is important to avoid contracting the virus during pregnancy. Avoid skin-to-skin contact when herpes sores are present and remember to use condoms, even when there are no obvious genital herpes lesions, to reduce the risk of possible transmission.
Becoming infected with genital herpes during the third trimester of pregnancy increases the risk of the baby becoming infected with the virus. Abstaining from sex with an infected partner is usually recommended during the third trimester of pregnancy.
If a first ever episode of herpes infection occurs during pregnancy, the mother is usually given antiviral medicines. Additionally, if this infection occurs in late pregnancy, it is recommended that the baby is delivered by Caesarean section.
There is less risk of infecting the baby if you have a recurrent episode of genital herpes during pregnancy. Caesarean section is only recommended if the woman has genital herpes sores at the time of delivery. Antiviral medicines may also be given in the last few weeks of pregnancy to women with recurrent genital herpes to reduce the risk of an outbreak at the time of delivery.
Babies are always monitored closely after birth to check for infection.
Can You Get An Std From Kissing
You probably do everything you can to avoid STDs or STIs by using condoms and getting tested regularly. But what about kissing? Can you get an STD from kissing? Its understandable if you dont know the answer because the subject probably didnt get much attention in your sex education class.
Its almost unbelievable that kissing can result in an STI. STIs can be transmitted through non-sexual contact and sexual contact. The general risk of contracting an STI via kissing is relatively low, although it does occur.
This is certainly a possibility, and some STDs are more concerning than others when it comes to kissing. In general, experts believe mouth-to-mouth kissing is more dangerous, although there are some STIs that can be transmitted by kissing someones cheek, head, or even eyes.
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Prevention Of Infection While Kissing
There are a number of things you can do to reduce the risk of passing on, or catching, an infection while kissing. You should try to:
- Avoid kissing when you or the other person is sick.
- Avoid kissing anyone on the lips when you, or they, have an active cold sore, warts or ulcers around the lips or in the mouth.
- Maintain good oral hygiene.
- Cough and sneeze into a hanky if you have a cold.
- See your doctor about immunisations. Vaccines are available to prevent some infectious diseases, such as chickenpox, hepatitis B and group C meningococcal infection.
Hsv1 And Oral Transmission
The other commonly transmitted strain of the herpes simplex virus, HSV1, typically results in oral herpes, or cold sores around the mouth. This form of HSV is more readily transmitted via oral contact, such as kissing, than through genital contact.
Unlike HSV2, which usually lies dormant between outbreaks at the base of the spine, HSV1s latency periods are typically spent in nerve endings near the ear. Thats why its more likely to cause oral herpes than genital herpes.
HSV1 and HSV2 are genetically similar to each other and clinical symptoms are indistinguishable.
For this reason, having one form of the virus sometimes reduces the risk of acquiring the other form. This is because your body actively produces antibodies to fight the virus once you have it. However, its possible to contract both forms.
HSV1 and HSV2 can both have no symptoms or very mild symptoms that you might not notice. Not having symptoms doesnt mean you dont have the virus.
If you do have symptoms of HSV1 or HSV2, they may include:
- a tingling sensation, itching, or pain, anywhere in the genital area or around the mouth
- one or more small, white blisters that may become oozy or bloody
- one or more small, red bumps or irritated-looking skin
Its important to see a doctor if you suspect you have acquired HSV1 or HSV2. Theres no cure for herpes, but antiviral medications can help reduce the number and severity of your outbreaks.
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