Black Americans And Genital Herpes
The NHANES survey found that the age-adjusted prevalence for the HSV-2, the virus that causes most genital herpes, was 34.6 for Black Americans, compared with 8.1 percent for white Americans.
Black Americans are also less likely to be diagnosed with genital herpes, even after accounting for socio-demographic factors such as education and income or health insurance. Lack of diagnosis likely contributes to ongoing transmission of the virus at a higher rate than for white or Hispanic Americans.
How To Reduce Shame And Stigma When You Have An Std
Its important to recognize and deal with feelings, worries, and fears you may have. Talking to your doctor or another healthcare provider can help you normalize your experience and move forward. If you are in a committed relationship, it may be helpful for you to make an appointment to see a healthcare provider with your partner.
Engaging in open conversations with your provider and any sexual partners may help to put your mind at ease. You will find out about the right precautions to take in light of your own personal situation.
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?
Read Also: Can You Get Herpes All Over Your Body
Myth #: People Cannot Spread Herpes To Others Unless They Have Sores Or Blisters
Fact: People can spread herpes to others at any time, including when they do not have any symptoms.
People with herpes may experience outbreaks and remissions. During an outbreak, a person has active sores or blisters, but in remission, they may have no symptoms at all.
The virus is usually more contagious when a person has an outbreak, but it can also spread when it is in remission.
Also Check: Do Herpes Outbreaks Happen In The Same Spot
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 active 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.
Don’t Miss: Can I Get Rid Of Herpes Type 2
Can I Give Herpes To My Children
No this will not happen. Parents do not need to worry about passing on their genital herpes to children because it is caught through direct skin contact with the affected place when symptoms are present and not from hands or objects. Even sharing a bath with small children is not a problem because herpes simplex virus is not transmitted in water.
Parents do not pass on genital herpes to their children through the normal activities of family life. Do not allow a fear of transmission to get in the way of ordinary family touching, hugging, sharing, etc.
Beds: herpes simplex virus is never transmitted on sheets.
Is herpes on my laundry? No it dies too fast. You can wash clothes together in the same machine, even when a person has a recurrence.
Bathing or showering together will not transmit herpes simplex virus the same is true for Jacuzzis and swimming pools. A child brushing against your upper thighs or abdomen while you have a recurrence wont catch the virus.
Even if you have used the toilet or you have touched the genital area and forgotten to wash your hands, this is not a problem. This virus is fragile and dies when it leaves living cells.
Washing with ordinary soap and water is clean enough theres no need to use any special hand or toilet seat sanitisers.
Children do all sorts of odd things that you cant anticipate, but even if they put your worn knickers on their head they are not going to contract the herpes virus relax and laugh with them.
Chances Of Passing Herpes During Outbreak Unprotected Sex
Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Herpes is one of the most common viral infections, with more than half of all people under 50 years of age infected with the HSV-1 type of herpes and an estimated 11% of people infected with the HSV-2 type of the virus, according to WHO data. One of the most common herpes-related questions is whether or not its possible to be infected with the herpes virus without ever experiencing any symptoms. Unfortunately, thatâs a thing, and itâs called asymptomatic herpes. In fact, itâs a major thing.
While most people associate herpes with cold sores on the lips and mouth or herpes lesions on the genitals, the reality is that most people infected with the herpes simplex virus wont get any symptoms.
This means that not only is it possible to have herpes without symptoms, but itâs actually very common. Below, well explain how often herpes results in asymptomatic infections , how asymptomatic viral shedding occurs, and the best options for testing whether or not you have herpes.
Also Check: How Can You Avoid Herpes
Can Genital Herpes Be Treated
Your physician can prescribe different medications to help reduce your symptoms and speed up the healing of an outbreak. These medicines work best when you start them soon after an outbreak occurs.
To reduce pain during an outbreak:
- Sit in warm water in a portable bath or bathtub for about 20 minutes. Avoid bubble baths.
- Keep your genital area clean and dry, and avoid tight clothes.
- Take over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Avoid aspirin.
Let your physician know if you are worried about your genital herpes. He or she can recommend a support group to help you cope with the virus.
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.
Recommended Reading: Can You Cure Herpes Simplex
You May Like: How Do You Date If You Have Herpes
Myth #: Your Sex Life Is Over
While theres no cure, herpes treatment is simple and can shorten or prevent outbreaks, so you can still have a love life.
People have a disproportionate fear of herpes in relation to any other STI, Grimes says. They feel like their sex lives are ruined forever and thats in no way the case.
If you have the virus, your doctor may prescribe a medication like Zovirax or Valtrex to keep on hand in case of a flare-up. And if you experience outbreaks often, your provider may recommend daily dosing. However you treat it, its worth remembering that herpes is a condition to manage it doesnt define you.
If you have to be perfect for your new partner, that partner will be looking a very, very long time to find a match! Grimes says. Everyone has something, and since one in six Americans between 14-49 have HSV-2, odds are very high that your next partner is in the same boat. The main issue is to have productive conversations around these issues.
So theres no reason for all the stigma and secrecy surrounding herpes, since its safe to assume more people have it than you think. And if youre diagnosed with the virus, your provider will help you find a treatment plan thats easy, effective, and fit for your lifestyle.
Read Also: How To Make Herpes On Lip Go Away Faster
Myth #: There Are Two Types: Genital And Oral Herpes
Buckle up, because this is where things get really confusing. There are two types of herpes, HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 is typically oral, meaning it causes cold sores on the mouth. More than half the population has been exposed to this virus, and often from childhood. HSV-2 is typically genital, and most usually is transmitted through sexual contact.
With that said, Dr. Dweck says that herpes type 1 can be spread to the genitals via oral contact . So you might have type 1 that only presents orally, or you might have type 1 that only presents genitally. Herpes type 2 can also be spread in the reverse fashion, from the genitals of one individual to the mouth of the other .
Recommended Reading: What Is The Best Treatment For Herpes
Also Check: How To Cure Herpes At Home
How Can I Make Sure I Dont Give Anyone Herpes
If you find out that you have herpes, try not to freak out. There are a few ways that you can stop it from spreading to your partners and other parts of your body.
Talk with your doctor about taking herpes medication every day, which can lower your 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.
Learn how to tell when an outbreak is coming, and stop having sex right when you notice these signs. You may feel a burning, itching, or tingling feeling that lets you know youre about to get sores.
Dont have sex until your sores are totally gone, and the scabs heal and fall off.
Dont touch your herpes sores, because you can spread the infection to other parts of your body or other people. If you touch a sore, wash your hands with soap and water right after.
Dont wet contact lenses with spit this might spread your oral herpes to your eye.
If you have a cold sore on your mouth, don’t kiss anyone especially babies, children, or pregnant women.
Always tell your sexual partners that you have herpes before you have sex, so you can work together to prevent it from spreading. Telling someone you have an STD can be hard, but herpes is super common and doesnt lead to serious health problems. So try not to be too embarrassed or stressed out about it.
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.
Don’t Miss: Does Herpes Affect The Liver
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.
Whatâs 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, theyâre not doing you any health harm overall. And if you do have significant recurrent outbreaks, thereâs a medication for that.
For all of these reasons, pros tend to agree that the outsized stigma around herpes is unwarranted and often, itâs the worst part of being infected. In reality, thereâs no reason herpes should make someone feel like a social pariah or that it should remain such a closeted, shameful condition.
âThe 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,â says Hawkins. âHerpes is, of course, not something people would want, but its not as big of a deal as people make it out to be.â
How Do You Catch And Pass On Herpes
If you currently have any genital lesions, you should avoid having intercourse, as the virus is very infective at this time. Using a condom or femidom will not protect a sexual partner as it does not cover all genital surfaces, so there is still risk of infection as uncovered surfaces come into contact.
If you have lesions elsewhere on the body, such as the mouth or fingers, intercourse is possible but great care must be taken for these lesions not to come into contact with the genitalia if you wish to avoid genital herpes.
It is possible for genital herpes to be acquired from a cold sore, so you should avoid giving oral sex to your partner if you currently have one.
During the initial episode of blisters, you should also take care to wash your hands thoroughly after touching any lesions, and avoid sharing towels or underwear. There are no need to take such precautions after the first episode has cleared.
Herpes can also be transmitted when there are no signs of infection. Once an individual has been infected, the virus lives in nerve tissue called ganglia, under the skin. Every so often it undergoes a process called shedding where the virus travels to the surface of the tissue and bits of the virus are spread.
Recommended Reading: How Long Does It Take To Get Rid Of Herpes
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.
Is Herpes Simplex Related To Herpes Zoster
Like HSV-1 and HSV-2, shingles can cause a painful, blistering rash. The shingles rash usually shows up on the back, side, abdomen , neck and face. It is often only on half of your body, following the pattern of your nerves. See your healthcare provider if you have a new rash and suspect you may have shingles.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Herpes simplex is a virus. Once you have herpes, its a lifelong condition. A herpes infection can lead to outbreaks , but youll also have times when you have no symptoms. The main sign of herpes is sores that appear on the infected skin. Some people choose not to treat herpes, especially if symptoms are mild. Others take antiviral medications to reduce the severity and frequency of outbreaks.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/17/2022.
Read Also: How To Treat Genital Herpes
Can I Get An Std From Masturbating
Nope. Masturbating is the safest sexual activity out there. There is virtually NO chance of getting an STD or any other infection from touching your own genitals . STDs have to be passed from one person to another, so you cant give yourself an STD. The one exception to this is herpes so if you have any cold sores on your mouth and touch them, make sure to wash your hands before masturbating.
But it IS possible to get an STD if youre masturbating with another person and touching each others genitals. Anytime semen or vaginal fluids are spread to someone elses body, or your genitals rub against each other, theres a risk of STDs. So if you touch each others genitals, wash your hands before touching your own.
STDs can also be spread by sharing sex toys with another person. You can help protect yourself by using condoms on any toys that you share . Put a new condom on anytime a different person uses it. If youre the only one using your sex toys, you dont have to worry about STDs. But if you use them with other people, protect those sex toys just like youd protect your own genitals put a condom on em!
If youre worried that you have an STD because of pain, itching, or discomfort in your genitals, go to your doctor or your local Planned Parenthood health center.
Dont Miss: How To Get Rid Of Genital Herpes For Good
How Is Herpes Simplex Treated
Some people have few to no herpes outbreaks and choose not to have treatment. But many people prefer to use medications that shorten outbreaks and reduce symptoms.
During an outbreak, you may use an antiviral ointment or cream to help lessen your symptoms and help them go away faster, but it only works if you start it soon after you start an outbreak. Many people with HSV-2 take daily oral medications to keep outbreaks at bay.
Your provider may prescribe a topical medication or oral medication such as:
Recommended Reading: How To Soothe Herpes Breakout