If Someone With Herpes Has No Sores Can It Still Be Passed On
If someone has herpes but no sores, can it still be passed on to another person? Spence*
Yes. Even when no sores are present, the herpes is still active in the body and can spread to others.
If you or your partner has herpes, reduce the risk of spread by:
- using a condom every time you have sex . The herpes virus can live outside of the area that a condom covers, though, so a condom may not always prevent the spread.
- avoiding sex during outbreaks
- making sure the infected person takes antiviral medicine every day as prescribed by the health care provider
- *Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
Myth #: Herpes Can Affect Your Fertility
Herpes has no impact on fertility, says Hawkins however, people may be confused because there can be an issue with herpes when it comes to pregnancy. If someone is pregnant and gets an outbreak close to when shes going to deliver a baby, that could be problematic, she says. In very rare cases, the outbreak can be transmitted to the baby during birth this is called neonatal herpes and the condition is potentially deadly. In such a situation, doctors may recommend a cesarean to protect the baby from infection.
What Can You Take To Make The Sores Go Away Or Prevent Them In The First Place
If youâre living with oral herpes and you get symptoms , youâll start to recognize the tingly feeling you get before an outbreak. When that happens, there are lots of things you can take to shorten the length of an outbreak. This includes over-the-counter medicine, alternative medicine options, certain foods, and prescription suppression medications like Valtrex and Acyclovir.
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The Risk For Males And Females Is Different
It has been proven that males are more susceptible to protected herpes transmission. This is because heterosexual females primarily get infected by the herpes simplex virus through penile skin, which is covered by a condom during protected sexual intercourse.2
Ã¢Ã¢Â¦.proven that males are more susceptible to protected herpes transmissionÃ¢
On the other hand, heterosexual males may get this infection from contact with a wider surface area, including the vulva and perineum.4
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.
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Is There A Treatment For Genital Herpes
Several medicines can help. Acyclovir , famciclovir and valacyclovir can be used for genital herpes. Your doctor can prescribe one of these medicines for you. There are two ways to take the medicine: suppressive and episodic.
Suppressive treatment keeps herpes sores from coming back. You have to take one or more pills every day for a long time. This can be expensive. When you stop taking the pills, the sores might come back again. However, if you have many sores and they hurt a lot, ask your doctor about suppressive therapy.
With episodic treatment, you only take medicine when you start to get a sore. The medicine makes the sore hurt less and go away faster. This works best if you take the medicine within a few hours after the first signs that you are getting a sore. Episodic treatment doesnt keep sores from coming back another time.
Take good care of yourself and eat a healthy diet, because the sores often come back when your resistance is weak.
What Do Genital Herpes Symptoms Look Like
Other symptoms can include:
- tingling or burning around the genitals
- feeling unwell, with aches, pains and flu-like symptoms
- unusual vaginal discharge in women.
Many people with genital herpes wont get any symptoms, or may get symptoms for the first time months or even years after they were infected.
For most people, the blisters go away within one to two weeks. Although the outbreaks clear-up by themselves, the virus stays in the body. This means that people usually get blisters again which is called having a recurrent outbreak. Outbreaks usually become shorter and less severe over time.
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Should You Get Tested
Its a good idea for the partners of people with genital herpes to have a blood test for herpes antibodies. This can help them to decide whether to use antiviral medication as protection, for example. Both partners may already have the same virus type. Then theres no reason to take medication to protect each other.
If one of the partners has HSV-1 or cold sores and the other one has HSV-2 or genital herpes, they could infect one another with the other virus. If one partner has herpes viruses in their body and the other doesnt, condoms are one way to prevent infection.
Can Valacyclovir Help Prevent Herpes Transmission
Valacyclovir , is an antiviral drug used to treat herpes. It is a prodrug, which means it is activated inside the body. Once activated, it inhibits viral DNA replication by the herpes simplex virus. It has been clinically proven to reduce the number of days and outbreaks of herpes.
However it can only help to prevent transmission if used daily. It is important to note that this drug does not cure herpes. It helps prevent outbreaks , and it helps to prevent transmission of the virus to others. It is also important to note that as with any medication, side effects have been associated with valtrex.
So can Valtrex protect you or your partner from transmitting genital herpes? As we know, the virus is spread by skin-to-skin contact, and that even if you have no symptoms, you can still spread the disease to your partner if you are infected. Read on to find out more.
What is Valtrex?
Valtrex is a treatment for herpes, a highly contagious infection. Herpes is an infection by the herpes simplex virus, HSV. There are two types of HSV: HSV-1 and HSV-2. Most infections are caused by HSV-2, which most often causes genital herpes. HSV-1 typically causes infections above the waist .
Valtrex works by inhibiting the DNA replication of HSV. It also helps reduce the duration and severity of outbreaks. Valtrex can also be used to treat chickenpox.
What’s the Likelihood of Spreading Herpes While Taking Valtrex?
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Is There Any Resistance To Genital Herpes Medication
Resistance to drugs that treat genital herpes even after 20 years of use is very rare. Herpes medications may not work as well in patients who are very immunosuppressed and have been treated with these drugs for a long time. Each individuals response to treatment may vary. In some cases, patients may need more drugs to suppress their viral outbreaks than others.
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.
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How Do You Treat Herpes
Theres no cure for herpes, but prescription medications can ease symptoms, end outbreaks sooner, and lower the chances of passing the virus to other people.
You can also help ease the pain caused by herpes outbreaks by taking a warm bath, wearing loose clothing and putting an ice pack on the sores.
Some Important Facts Affecting The Risk Of Herpes Transmission
- Herpes is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact
- The first outbreak is the most contagious
- There is a greater statistical chance of passing herpes when youâve been recently diagnosed whether you have symptoms or not
- Herpes infects skin areas that are thin and moist because itâs easier for the virus to penetrate those areas. For that reason, females are three times more likely to be infected than males
- Younger people having casual sex are more likely to contract herpes
- HSV-1 in the genital area recurs less often than HSV-2
- Being positive for HSV-2 gives some protection against getting HSV-1. The opposite is not true
- If a person with one type of herpes acquires a different type, the flare-up symptoms are milder
- Sex toys should not be shared. But if they are shared, they should be cleaned with water and soap before being used
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Myth: People With Herpes Must Be Promiscuous
The reality of any STI is you dont need to sleep around to get infected. This is especially true for herpes, considering theres such a large population of asymptomatic carriers, says Dr. Dardik. While having more partners obviously increases your risk of any kind of any kind of sexually transmitted infection, the reverse doesnt always hold, she points out. In other words, all it takes is one partner.
What Happens If Herpes Is Not Treated
Herpes can be painful, but it generally does not cause serious health problems like other STDs can.
Without treatment, you might continue to have regular outbreaks, or they could only happen rarely. Some people naturally stop getting outbreaks after a while. Herpes typically does not get worse over time.
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Can Valtrex Prevent Herpes Transmission
While there is no cure for HSV-2, there are medications that treat and can shorten outbreaks, as well as daily treatment to reduce asymptomatic shedding and likelihood of transmission.
In the same New England Journal of Medicine study, 743 of the 1,484 couples were instructed to have the infected partner take 500 mg of Valtrex daily. They were also educated on using condoms for protection. Only 14 became infected with the virus, 4 of whom developed an outbreak. This is compared to 27 in the placebo group who became infected.
The results of the study showed that taking Valtrex 500 mg daily led to a reduction in the transmission of gential HSV-2 to the uninfected partner.
While the addition of daily Valtrex can be helpful in reducing transmission of HSV-2, it has not been studied for this purpose in those with genital lesions due to HSV-1, the herpes simplex virus most commonly associated with cold sores on and around your mouth. Although HSV-2 makes up most of the recurrent genital herpes cases, there is an increasing number due to HSV-1 because of transmission through oral sex.
For people who have nine or fewer recurrences of an HSV-2 outbreak per year, the dosage of Valtrex is typically 500 mg daily. For those who have more frequent outbreaks, kidney problems, or a weakened immune system, dosing may be adjusted.
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.
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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.
Genital Herpes: How Can You Prevent The Spread Of Herpes In Sexual Relationships
Herpes viruses are most likely to be transmitted during an outbreak, so it’s better to not have sex during this time. Herpes can also be passed on to others in symptom-free phases, though. This risk can be reduced considerably by using condoms.
If you have genital herpes, there are some things you can do on your own to protect your partner from infection. The main things are
- not having sex during an outbreak,
- using condoms during symptom-free phases, and
- talking openly with your partner about the disease.
Preventive treatment with antiviral medication may be an option for people who have genital herpes very frequently. This medication inhibits the activity of the virus, thereby lowering the risk of infecting partners.
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What Are The Complications Of Herpes Infections
Complications caused by the herpes virus are mostly seen in patients having weak immune systems. Cancer is the most serious complication of herpes infection. It takes years to develop cancer after the herpes infection and is associated with only certain strains of herpes virus. It is important to get regular screening tests for cancer prevention .
Other complications of Herpes infections are-
- Rectal inflammation. This happens more often in males.
- Meningitis , in rare cases where the viral infection spreads to brain and spinal fluid.
- Urinary tract infections
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How Big Is The Risk Of Infection
The likelihood of being infected with genital herpes during sex depends on many factors, including how often you have sex, whether and how frequently you use condoms, and how long your partner has already been infected. Someone who has had the virus for a long time is less contagious than someone who has just been infected. In general, women have a higher risk of becoming infected than men. Having other sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV also increases the risk of transmission.
In studies with couples where one partner had genital herpes, the other partner became infected within one year in 5 to 10% of the couples. The people in these studies only rarely used condoms, though and if they did, it was mostly during an outbreak. One of these studies showed that infection occurred in an estimated 1 out of 1,000 sexual acts.
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Why Doctors Dont Automatically Test You For Herpes
OK, clearly herpes is super common. So why dont doctors automatically test for it when you ask to get tested for everything? To answer that question, its important to understand the difference between STI testing and STI screening. Testing is done when you have symptoms, whereas screening is done in the absence of symptomsjust to check to see if youve been exposed.
Doctors will screen for STIs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia even in the absence of symptoms. This is key from a public health perspective because catching these infections in time can prevent serious complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease. This happens when an untreated STI like gonorrhea or chlamydia infects reproductive organs, possibly leading to infertility.
Experts dont screen for herpes for a few reasons.
The U.S. Preventative Task Force has recommended against screening asymptomatic adolescents and adults for HSV infections. The rationale is that there is no health benefit thats been proven and there a couple of risks, Dr. Johnston says. One is a false positive test, and the second is a risk of anxiety is not associated with serious health outcomes, yet its still feared.
Even pregnant people who could theoretically risk passing the virus during childbirth are not screened unless they have a history of herpes outbreaks or a current outbreak, Peter Leone, M.D., of UNCs Institute of Global Health and Infectious Diseases, tells SELF.
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