What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- What is the best treatment for me?
- What happens if I dont treat a cold sore?
- 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 lookout for signs of complications?
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 Are The Symptoms Of Herpes
People usually associate genital herpes with recurring blisters that bubble up in an infected area, breaking, oozing, and lingering as painful sores for a week or two. I assumed youd know for sure if you had it, because youd always be having those outbreaks, said Jenelle Marie Pierce, executive director of The STI Project, an education and advocacy group, who was diagnosed with genital herpes as a teenager. Your genitals would be full of blisters and look painful and gross.
Again, most people never get those symptoms. Those who do usually have a bad initial outbreak, which may last a few weeks and be accompanied by headaches, fatigue, and fever. After that, though, most suffer progressively fewer and less severe recurrences as their bodies presumably get better at responding to the virus. Some people may have multiple outbreaks every year, while others may only rarely or never have another.
In the first year , I got a lot of outbreaks, said Sarah. I thought that was going to be the rest of my life. But I barely get them now. Over the last two years, Ive only had one.
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How To Have A Healthy Sex Life If You Have Herpes
Getting diagnosed with the disease doesnt mean you cant have a great sex life. Use this guide to get busy without the worry.
Nora Pelaez/Getty Images
If youve recently been diagnosed with herpes, youre not alone. One in six people has the sexually transmitted disease , according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But not everyone with herpes has symptoms, which can make it tricky to stop the spread of the STD. Indeed, an April 2011 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that its people who dont know they have the virus who are at most risk of transmitting it to their partners.
The good news is: It is possible to have a great sex life when you have herpes. It doesnt take away from your ability to be intimate, but it does inform how you will be sexual, says Katherine Bettin, PhD, a psychologist and certified sex therapist in Midlothian, Virginia. Read on to learn what you can do to have a healthy and satisfying sex life when you have herpes.
What Are The Symptoms Of Genital Herpes
Most women with genital herpes do not know they have it. But, if you get symptoms with the first outbreak of genital herpes, they can be severe. Genital herpes also can be severe and long-lasting in people whose immune systems do not work properly, such as women with HIV.
The first signs of genital herpes usually show up two to 12 days after having sexual contact with someone who has herpes. Symptoms can last from two to four weeks. There are other early symptoms of genital herpes:
- Feeling of pressure in the abdomen
- Flu-like symptoms, including fever
If you have any symptoms of genital herpes, see a doctor or nurse.
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Genital Herpes And Pregnancy
Women with herpes before pregnancy can usually expect to have a healthy baby and a vaginal delivery.
If you have genital herpes during pregnancy, there’s a risk your baby could develop a serious illness called neonatal herpes.
This can be fatal, but most babies recover with antiviral treatment.
The risk of your baby getting neonatal herpes is low if you have had genital herpes before.
It’s higher if you get genital herpes for the first time in pregnancy.
Can I Have Sex With Herpes
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Transmitting Herpes Through Sex
Well start with the way most people associate with contracting herpes. Sex.
You can also catch herpes from oral sex. If you go down on someone who has genital herpes the infection can pass to your face resulting in cold sores. The opposite can happen too. If someone with cold sores goes down on you they can give you genital herpes.
You can even transmit herpes infections from just foreplay. If you touch an infected persons genitals and then touch your own, or if they touch their genitals and then touch yours you can catch their infection that way too.
Having Sex Without Disclosing That You Have Hiv Is A Felony
If you have sex without telling your partner that you have HIV, you could potentially face charges for aggravated assault, assault with a dangerous weapon, or even attempted murder. These are all felony offenses. If convicted, you can face multiple years behind bars and be required to pay substantial fines.
Aggravated Assault and Assault With a Deadly Weapon: Can be charged as a fourth-degree felony or third-degree felony .
Attempted Murder: Can be charged as a first-degree felony, which carries a sentence of between three and 11 years in prison.
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Facts About Cold Sores
Cold sores usually appear as a single watery blister on the lip or mouth, or several blisters that consolidate into one.
However, HSV-1 can also lead to genital herpes during oral sex and HSV-2 can sometimes lead to cold sores.
HSV-1 is very common. About 67% of the worlds population under age 50 has HSV-1.
Cold sores affect roughly 3 of every 1,000 people each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Of these, 33% will experience subsequent attacks triggered by stress, fever, and other causes.
Once you have HSV-1 it doesnt go away. If you develop a cold sore, the virus can spread more easily.
Cold sores are typically spread through saliva and direct contact. You can get them through kissing or sharing lip balm with someone who has a cold sore.
Cold sores can be painful and may take up to 14 days before active healing begins.
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You Have To Have Sex With Someone Who Has Herpes
This is totally false. Yes, in the beginning we all feel this way because the last thing we want to do is put someone else through the pain weve just been in. I get it and I was totally there. One of the big differences is most likely you got herpes from someone who didnt tell you or they didnt know so in a way you didnt have a choice in the matter and bamyou wake up with herpes. The difference for you moving forward is youre going to disclose to your future partner and let them know about your diagnosis. Giving him or her the option to make the decision to have sex and potentially contact herpes is a whole different ball game.
When you have a conversation about sex and about herpes youll be so surprised to find how open people are with herpes. Yes, its possible that they will reject you and will want nothing to do with you but take a step back and think, do you really want someone in your life thats going to act like that? Were going to get rejected for so many different reasons and the issue is usually with them not you. Dont take it personal and I know thats easier said than done.
The truth is you dont have to find someone who has herpes too but you have to find someone who is ok with the potential of contracting the virus.
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What Are The Risk Factors For Herpes
Some risk factors for herpes may include:
-Having unprotected sex
-Having sex with multiple partners
-Kissing someone with a herpes virus that is active
-Abuse of cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs
-Spreading the virus by touching a cold sore and then touching something else
-Having an autoimmune disorder or illness, such as hepatitis or HIV/AIDS
-Poor eating habits that cause nutritional deficiencies
What Are Cold Sores Chickenpox Shingles And Genital Herpes
Cold sores are caused by a herpes virus that may be spread by kissing or other physical contact with the infected area of the skin. They are small, painful ulcers that you get in or around your mouth. It is not known if valacyclovir tablets can stop the spread of cold sores to others.
Chickenpox is caused by a herpes virus called Varicella Zoster Virus . It causes an itchy rash of multiple small, red bumps that look like pimples or insect bites usually appearing first on the abdomen or back and face. It can spread to almost everywhere else on the body and may be accompanied by flu-like symptoms.
Shingles is caused by the same herpes virus that causes chickenpox. It causes small, painful blisters to appear on your skin. Shingles occurs in people who have already had chickenpox. Shingles can be spread to people who have not had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine by contact with the infected areas of the skin. It is not known if valacyclovir tablets can stop the spread of shingles to others.
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease. It causes small, painful blisters on your genital area. You can spread genital herpes to others, even when you have no symptoms. If you are sexually active, you can still pass herpes to your partner, even if you are taking valacyclovir tablets. Valacyclovir tablets, taken every day as prescribed and used with the following safer sex practices, can lower the chances of passing genital herpes to your partner.
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What Is Genital Herpes
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. This infection is best known for the red bumps and white blisters it causes in the genital region, but genital herpes involves much more than just the visible outbreak.
The genital herpes virus progresses through five distinct phases, starting from your primary infection and proceeding through the healing stage.
During an active herpes outbreak, the blisters themselves also go through their own five-stage progression.
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Other Stis Causing Similar Symptoms
If you have sore, red blisters around your genitals then its very likely that you have herpes. However, there are some other infections that can cause symptoms you might mistake for herpes.
Genital warts are small, fleshy growths that develop around the genitals. They are usually painless but they can become itchy and inflamed, and in some cases they can bleed.
The first symptom of syphilis is a painless sore on the genitals. It is normal to have only one sore, although some people have several. If you have several sores and they are painful, it is more likely to be herpes than syphilis.
Trichomoniasis, pubic lice and scabies can cause itching and inflammation around the genitals. Scratching the affected area can cause soreness and break the skin, which you might mistake for herpes. However, if there are no blisters present then it is unlikely that you are infected.
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How Do You Get Herpes
Whether a person is experiencing an outbreak or not, they have the ability to spread herpes to others.
HereÃ¢s the thing: once you contract herpes, the virus sticks around in your body for life.
Most of the time, it will lay dominant in your system, but it may occasionally cause flare ups or outbreaks .
In the case of oral herpes, the virus is spread by skin-to-skin contact from someone who already has the virus. Some of the most common methods of transmission include:
Ã¢ Sharing cutlery or cups
Ã¢ Sharing lip balm
Ã¢ Performing oral sex
As for genital herpes, this is only spread by having sexual intercourse with an infected person . Genital herpes tends to be most infectious when sores are beginning to develop right through to when scabs go away, but you can still contract the virus even if your infected partner is asymptomatic.
What Are The Signs Of Herpes In Pregnant Women
If you are pregnant and have genital herpes, there may be a risk of your baby being infected with the virus during delivery. This condition is called neonatal herpes and can be serious or fatal.
Neonatal herpes can result in damage to the central nervous system and can cause mental retardation. Only about 0.1% of babies born in the United States are infected with neonatal herpes even though about 25% to 30% of pregnant women have genital herpes.
Generally, if you are infected with herpes, your doctor will deliver your baby by cesarean section to avoid any risk to your newborn infant.
Women who have herpes before becoming pregnant are at very low risk of transmitting the herpes virus to their babies. If a woman is infected with the herpes virus after becoming pregnant, her baby faces a higher risk of contracting neonatal herpes. Women who are newly infected havent had time to develop the antibodies against the virus and cannot pass them on to the baby for protection.
Talk with your OB/GYN and let them know if you have genital herpes. At the time of your delivery, ask your doctor to examine you early in labor to make sure you dont have any sores or signs of infection like pain, tingling, or itching.
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What Is The Difference Between Genital Herpes And Genital Warts
Both genital herpes and genital warts 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.
- Human papillomavirus 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.
Is Genital Herpes Related To Shingles
Shingles, also called herpes zoster, is caused by the varicella zoster virus , which causes chickenpox earlier in life. The natural history of varicella zoster infection is similar to genital herpes infection in that VZV also becomes latent in the sensory nerve roots. Later in life the virus may exit, causing shingles.
Recurrences in shingles cause blister lesions in a single area of skin called a dermatome. Shingles is not a sexually transmitted infection and is independent from genital herpes.
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What Happens During A Herpes Outbreak
- Painful lesions or small blisters around the genitals, rectum, or mouth
- Swollen lymph nodes
Recurrence of herpes outbreaks is common and may happen several times a year. However, symptoms during a recurrence tend not to last as long or be as severe as the initial outbreak.
You should not have sex during an active herpes outbreak because you are more contagious and likely to spread the infection to your partner.
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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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.