Is Genital Herpes Infection Related To Hiv
Herpes and HIV are caused by different viruses. But patients infected with these viruses are more likely to transmit either disease to their sexual partners. Patients with herpes are more vulnerable to HIV infection. People newly diagnosed with herpes should be tested for HIV infection and other sexually transmitted infections.
Patients who are infected with both herpes and HIV also may have a higher concentration of HIV viruses in their body because of the interaction between the herpes virus and the HIV virus. When HIV damages a persons immune system, the person may be more likely to shed herpes simplex virus asymptomatically.
Tips To Soothe The Pain
- Take aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen .
- Place lukewarm or cool cloths on the sore place.
- Take lukewarm baths.
Questions to ask your doctor
- What is the best treatment for me?
- Are there any side effects to my treatment?
- Is it safe to have unprotected sex if I dont have any sores?
- Can I give myself genital herpes if I also have oral herpes?
- Can I give someone else herpes even if Im not having an outbreak?
- What is the best way to prevent herpes outbreaks?
- Can I live a normal life with herpes?
- Am I at risk of developing any other diseases?
- Are there any support groups in my area?
- If I give my baby herpes, what is the treatment?
How Does Genital Herpes Spread
Herpes can be spread when an infected person has lesions blisters and open sores on their body or when you do not have any symptoms. Taking antiviral medicine can help you reduce the risk of spreading genital herpes to your sexual partners. You can also:
- Inform your sexual partner that you have genital herpes.
- Use a condom every time you have sex.
- Refrain from having sex when you have symptoms.
- Abstain from performing oral sex if you have blisters or open sores around your mouth.
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How To Prevent Transmission
You should wait to have sex at least two weeks after your warts have cleared. You should also talk to your sexual partners about your HPV status before engaging in sexual activity.
Even if you arent dealing with an outbreak, you can still spread HPV through skin-to-skin contact. Wearing a condom will reduce your risk of transmitting HPV. This includes dental dams and male or female condoms.
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.
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How Will My Doctor Know If I Have Herpes
Your healthcare provider may diagnose genital herpes by simply looking at your symptoms. Providers can also take a sample from the sore and test it. In certain situations, a blood test may be used to look for herpes antibodies. Have an honest and open talk with your health care provider and ask whether you should be tested for herpes or other STDs.
Please note: A herpes blood test can help determine if you have herpes infection. It cannot tell you who gave you the infection or how long you have been infected.
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Research And Statistics: Who Has Genital Herpes
Its estimated that each year, 776,000 people in the United States get new genital herpes infections. Genital herpes is most often caused by herpes simplex virus type 2 .
According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey , the prevalence of HSV-2 was 11.9 percent during 2015 and 2016, a decline of 5.9 percentage points from the years 1999 and 2000.
HSV-2 is more common in women than in men. Its suspected that women are more likely to contract the HSV-2 infection because genital infection is more easily transmitted from men to women than from women to men during penile-vaginal sex.
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Who Might Get Genital Herpes
Genital herpes affects teens and adults of all genders and races. It can spread if you have multiple sexual partners and dont use condoms.
Women are more at risk. Delicate vaginal tissue can tear, making it easier for the infection to get in. Black women are especially vulnerable. An estimated 1 in 2 African-American women between the ages of 14 and 49 is infected with HSV-2, the virus that causes genital herpes.
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.
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Myth #: If Someone Has Herpes They’re Probably Promiscuous
“One of my ‘favorite’ myths is that only promiscuous or ‘slutty’ people get herpesI just want to shout from the rooftops that this is absolutely not the case,” says Hawkins. “Herpes is something thats super easily transmitted.” This is especially true of type 1 oral herpes, as you may have contracted it from, say, your grandmother as a kid. If this is the case, 15 years later you could perform oral sex on your partner and accidentally transmit your type 1 to his or her genitalsit’s that easy.
For this and all the reasons outlined abovethe fact that it’s difficult to test for, most people don’t know they have it, it can be contracted non-sexually, etcyou can catch genital herpes from your first love, your long-term partner, someone who has been STD tested and shows you a clean bill of health, etc. Your number of sexual partners and your sexual proclivities are irrelevant.
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.
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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.
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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What Does Genital Herpes Look Like
While some people with genital herpes will never have any symptoms, other people can develop symptoms within a few weeks of being infected.
Often, before the lesions appear, patients describe a prodrome, characterized by a tingling or burning sensation in the area where the lesions will develop that can be noticed during urination, along with itching or discomfort in the genital area.
You can also have the following symptoms:
- Blisters on the mouth or lips
- Fever, headache or pain in the joints
- Trouble urinating
The symptoms of genital herpes often go away and come back as recurring outbreaks. For most people, the first outbreak is the worst, and can last from two to three weeks. Future flare-ups are often less severe and do not last as long. Still, some people shed the virus regularly. The following triggers can make outbreaks more likely to occur:
- Viral or bacterial infections
- Menstrual periods
Recurrent genital herpes is most common in the first year after the initial infection and decreases as time goes on.
In many cases, anti-herpes medicine can help patients. When a person experiences a prodrome and suspects a recurrence is going to happen, they begin taking anti-herpes medications that lessen symptoms and shorten the time of the outbreak.
How Effective Is Medication At Preventing Infection
If you have genital herpes, you will probably be somewhat less likely to infect your partner if you use antiviral medication for prevention. The medications used for this purpose include aciclovir, famciclovir and valaciclovir. They must be taken every day over a long period of time, though. One study showed that over a period of eight months,
- 4 out of 100 people became infected when the partner with the virus took a placebo, and
- 2 out of 100 people became infected when the partner with the virus took antiviral medication every day.
These couples were also advised to use condoms as well but many didn’t use them consistently. So its not clear whether taking antiviral medication can lower the risk of infection even further if you always use condoms anyway, or whether using condoms is just as effective on its own.
Whether or not you would like to use preventive medication is ultimately an individual decision. Many factors can play a role, such as how long you or your partner have had the infection, how frequent and severe the outbreaks are, whether you are male or female, the frequency of sexual contact and whether you use condoms.
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Can You Get Genital Herpes From Oral Herpes
Yes!! Weve spelled out all of the logistics pretty clearly above, but just so that theres no confusion we will deal with this on a case to case basis.
- If your partner has HSV-1 on the mouth, and they go down on you, you can get HSV-1 on your genitals.
- If your partner has HSV-2 on the mouth, and they go down on you, you can get HSV-2 on your genitals.
Can I Get Tested For Genital Herpes
Yes, if you think you have symptoms of genital herpes or have been at risk of infection, you should speak to a healthcare worker.
There are different tests available. If you have symptoms, the most common test is to take a swab from a blister. The fluid can be tested for the herpes simplex virus.Some places may also offer blood tests to check for antibodies to the virus, but these are often not routinely available, so ask a healthcare worker if youre unsure.
If you have genital herpes you should be tested for other STIs.
Its also advised that you tell your recent sexual partner/s so they can also get tested and treated. Many people who have genital herpes do not notice anything wrong, and by telling them you can help to stop the virus being passed on.
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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.
Where Does The Herpes Virus Live In The Body
The herpes simplex viruses are latent, meaning they can live in the body without causing symptoms. After the initial infection, the virus gets into the nerve roots and spreads to the sensory nerve ganglia, the junctions where nerves from different parts of the body come together. For the genital area, the ganglia are adjacent to the spinal cord in the lower back. For orofacial herpes , the ganglia are located behind the cheek bone.
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Which Doctor To Talk To
I know. Nobody wants to ask their doctor or dentist about something like genital herpes. Or especially a cold sore if you think its from genital herpes.
Cold sores are not usually looked at as an STD, so you dont have to worry about your dentist or hygienist judging you. However, they do not want you to come in for an appointment if you have a cold sore. At all. If your cold sore is flaring up, rescheduling your appointment ASAP. In fact its one of the only times when your dental office wants you to call and cancel. Tell them you have a cold sore, and youre instantly off the hook.
If you tend to get cold sores often, definitely talk to your dentist. They can prescribe you an antiviral medication to help with flare ups. Some dentists even offer laser therapy where they can treat the area of your lip once you feel the tingling-sensation that a fever blister is coming on
Of course, your dentist cant help you with those other blisters or sores, so talk to your primary care physician, gynecologist, or visit a local health clinic that offers sexual health services. You will not be the first one to tell them you need to get tested or need medication. I promise. Approximately 1-in-6 adults have genital herpes from HSV-2, while almost half have HSV-1, the one that causes cold sores.
Stis Arent Always Transmitted Genitally
The leading narrative says that STIs are only spread through genital-to-genital contact.
And while thats the leading cause of transmission, it isnt the only cause, says Felice Gersh, MD, author of PCOS SOS: A Gynecologists Lifeline to Naturally Restore Your Rhythms, Hormones, and Happiness.
Not all sexually transmitted diseases are transmitted through genital-to-genital contact, says Gersh.
In fact, some can be spread without sexual activity ever having taken place, adds Gersh.
An STI can take root anywhere there are mucous membranes.
This includes the:
Yes. Its possible to have an STI even if youve never:
- kissed another person
- had penetrative sex of any kind
- participated in any other sexual act
STIs can get passed in nonsexual scenarios. Some ways include:
- from parent to child during childbirth
- from parent to child during chestfeeding
- during a friendly kiss with a person who has a cold sore
- by sharing a sex toy with a person who has an STI
- via open cuts or sores
No matter your sexual history, the only way to know if you have an STI is to get tested.
Its important to note, however, that untreated gonorrhea and chlamydia can spread to the fallopian tubes and uterus and cause pelvic inflammatory disease, says Gersh.
Of these, HSV is the infection most easily transferred from one place to another.
Its also possible to spread gonorrhea and chlamydia to other parts of the body.
STIs that can be completely cured include:
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What Is The Difference Between Oral Herpes And Genital Herpes
Lets get one thing out of the way right now, oral herpes and genital herpes are not medical terms, they simply refer to where on the body a specific strain of the virus is located, and as weve already covered, HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be found in either location
There are three key differences between HSV-1 and HSV-2: Stigma, location, and antibodies.
Its already pretty bad by societys standards to have oral herpes, but its oftentimes just the brunt of bad jokes, rather than something to actually be feared.
Genital herpes , on the other hand, seems to be the end of the world. Thats the one that people like to categorize as really bad. Folks that are diagnosed with genital herpes often assume that their lives are over, in fact, they may as well lockdown and marry the next person that deems them lovable . But why does society make it such a big deal?
Location, location, location. Literally nothing else. One is not worse than the other, more contagious than the other, or dirtier than the other. They. Are. The. Same.
HSV-1 and HSV-2 are two different strains of the same virus. HSV-1 will usually cause oral herpes because it prefers to be located orally, and HSV-2 will usually cause genital herpes because it prefers to be located genitally.
We can not stress this enough: Both types of herpes are commonly asymptomatic, meaning they show no symptoms at all. And when symptoms appear, it can be years after the initial infection!