What Can I Do If I Have Herpes Simplex 2
Many people who find out they have herpes feel depressed knowing they’ll always have the virus and can give it to others. But you arent alone. Herpes is one of the most common STIs, both in the U.S. and worldwide. If you have herpes, you should:
- Learn all you can about it. Information will help you to manage your disease and feel better about yourself.
- Talk about your illness with your doctor.
If you have herpes, you can still:
- Have sex if you use a condom or dental dam , and you tell your partner about your illness. Some couples, who have sexual relations only with each other, may choose not to use condoms even though one partner has herpes. Because each situation is different, you should ask your doctor if this is the right choice for you in your relationship.
- Have children. People with herpes can still give birth to healthy babies. If you have herpes and plan to have children, discuss your illness with your healthcare provider.
If you have herpes, you should also get checked for HIV and other STIs .
What Else Should I Know
Genital herpes is a lifelong condition, but there are ways to manage it. If you have genital herpes:
- Take medicines to stop outbreaks or make them less frequent and less severe.
- Help reduce the risk of spreading genital herpes to others by taking medicines, always using a condom during sex, and avoiding sex during outbreaks.
How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Herpes Simplex
You can reduce your risk of contracting HSV-1 by avoiding physical contact with someone who has a cold sore. People can still spread HSV-1 when cold sores arent present, but its less likely.
If someone has an active HSV-1 infection, avoid:
- Sharing utensils, cups, lip balms or other personal care products.
- Touching the skin near their mouth.
If youre sexually active, you can take these steps to protect yourself and others from the herpes virus and other STIs:
- Be monogamous with one sexual partner or limit your number of partners.
- Get tested for STIs and complete any prescribed treatment.
- Tell your sexual partners if you have genital herpes so they can get tested.
- Use condoms during intercourse and dental dams during oral sex.
Wash your hands often if you have an outbreak or are around someone with symptoms.
If your sexual partner has genital herpes, these actions can lower your risk of getting the virus:
- Dont have sex when your partner has active symptoms. Condoms may not cover all sores, so you may still get the virus.
- Make sure your partner takes antiviral medication as prescribed.
- Wait to have sex until scabs fall off active lesions.
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Avoid Withdrawing From Your Partner
A sudden outbreak can be disappointing, especially if you were looking forward to an intimate evening.
But its important to remember that your worth isnt tied to your diagnosis. Youre still the same person, outbreak or not.
If you dont truly believe this, your words might reflect your self-judgment, and you might end up pulling away or conveying the message you do have something to feel embarrassed about .
Instead of saying something like:
- We cant have sex tonight I understand if you dont want to come over after all.
Try something like:
- Tonights a no-go for sex, so lets cuddle up with a horror movie.
The second validates the reality that you still have a lot to offer in the way of companionship. And dont forget, a hot makeout session can be pretty sexy. Think of the tension youll build up!
Sex is an important component in many romantic relationships, but it shouldnt be the only thing keeping your relationship going.
To help your relationship thrive, practice connecting with your partner in other ways.
You might try:
- sharing goals for the future
- simply existing in the same space
Experts agree this simply isnt true. The virus doesnt live long once outside the body, so the risk of transmission is very low in these scenarios.
Soap and water kills the virus, so if you touch sores to apply medication, all you have to do is wash your hands thoroughly afterward.
How Do You Know If You Have Genital Herpes
The only way to know if you have genital herpes is by amedical exam. Your health care provider can examineyou and test for it. Lab samples are taken from a sore,blister, or blood. Your health care provider may ask totest you for other infections at the same time.
Tell current and most recent sex partners of your herpes infection.
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How To Have Safe Sex With Herpes
Even if you have herpes, you can still maintain a fulfilling sex life. Although it might prove to be a bit more complicated, an enjoyable and safe sex life can be reached if you follow some guidelines. The way herpes spreads is through sexual contact between an infected partner and an uninfected partner. Herpes is the most widespread sexually transmitted infection in the world. Thats why it is paramount to understand the safe ways you can perform sexually in order to protect the virus from spreading.
Triggers For Recurring Cold Sores
If you do contract the herpes virus and develop a cold sore, its important to understand a few things. Firstly, its common to experience recurring outbreaks of symptoms, even after your initial cold sore has cleared up. This is because the herpes virus passes through the skin and travels up into the nerves, where it lies dormant for long periods. In reaction to certain triggers, the virus causes a recurrence of symptoms.
Triggers for cold sores include:
- Having another infection
- Receiving an injury to the affected area
- Strong sunlight
If you do suffer from the recurring cold sores, the good news is that there are several types of treatment available.
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How To Prevent Herpes
But most people have sex at some point in their lives, so knowing how to have safer sex is important. Using protection like condoms and dental dams when you have sex helps to lower your risk of getting an STD.
Herpes can live on areas of your body that arent protected by condoms , so condoms wont always protect you from herpes. But they do lower your chances of getting herpes.
Dont have sex with anyone during a herpes outbreak, because thats when it spreads most easily. But herpes can also spread when there are no sores or symptoms, so its important to use condoms and dental dams, even if everything looks and feels A-OK.
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Progesterone Triggering Herpes Attacks
Hello,Thanks for this amazing site. I read on one of the front pages that you said that progesterone boosts the immne system . I was told by another progesterone researcher that progesterone reduces cortisol levels. This was in response to my query about why when I use natural progesterone it frequently triggers a herpes brekouton my buttocks within a couple of days. When i go for a period without it, I get no breakouts . I took this to mean that progesteronereduced immune response and thusallows the herpes virus to activate more easily. I have searched for research on this over the years, but found none. And yet, I know of other women who have this experience. I would value any knowledge or insight you have on this issue. Your dedication to your site is truly impressive. Thanks, Lynda
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Avoiding Passing Genital Herpes To A Partner
If you have herpes, you can follow some simple measures to avoid passing the virus on to your partner, and to continue to have a healthy and happy sex life. These include:
- telling your partner if you have herpes
- learning to recognise the warning signs that an episode is starting
- not have sex during an episode of herpes
- avoiding direct contact with your sores or blisters and another person
- avoiding kissing and oral sex when you or your partner has cold sores around the mouth
If you have frequent episodes of herpes then it is worth talking to your GP or sexual health clinic about longer term treatment which may also reduce the chance of you passing on the virus to your partner.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Genital Herpes
Aside from having lesions, you might feel pain in the affected area as well as a burning and/or itching sensation. There might also be fever, headache, body malaise, muscle pain, penile discharges, and enlarged lymph nodes .
As mentioned above, not everyone who has genital herpes are symptomatic. Some have mild versions of the signs and symptoms listed above, while others feel no discomfort at all. Its also important to note that people can still pass on the diseases even when they dont exhibit signs and symptoms or when their lesions have already healed.
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How Does Genital Herpes Affect Pregnancy
Genital herpes doesnt affect fertility or your ability to conceive. Pregnant women diagnosed with herpes genitalis should start a daily antiviral at 36 weeks of pregnancy to prevent outbreaks during delivery. If you have an active infection at the time of childbirth, you can pass the herpes virus to your baby. Neonatal herpes puts a baby at risk for blindness, brain damage, skin infections and death. Your healthcare provider will perform a cesarean section to lower this risk.
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Is It Possible To Have Unprotected Sex And Not Catch Herpes
If you have unprotected sex with someone who has genital herpes then youre not guaranteed to catch it, but you are playing with fire. Herpes infections are highly contagious and very easy to catch, so although you arent guaranteed to catch it, you have a high chance.
OK. Lets get down to it and look at some specifics about how you can catch herpes infections:
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How To Tell Your Partner You Have Herpes
Before we get into the practical side of having sex with herpes, its important to cover another topic that many infected people worry about telling their sexual partner about their infection status.
If you are aware that you have herpes, you need to tell your sexual partner. Even when you avoid sex during outbreaks, use condoms and follow other safe sex practices, theres still a risk of transmitting the virus. This makes it essential that your sexual partners are informed.
Many people feel anxious about telling their romantic interest that they have herpes, for reasons that are very understandable. Nobody likes to disclose that they have an STD, especially to the person theyre sexually and romantically interested in.
However, done the right way, letting your partner know that you have herpes doesnt have to be a stressful or negative experience.
First, before you disclose to anyone that you have herpes, its important to check which type of the herpes virus youre infected with. Our guide to herpes tests covers the most common herpes testing methods and explains how you can get tested to see if you have HSV-1 or HSV-2.
If you have HSV-1 and only develop herpes sores on your lips, disclosing your status to your sexual partner is fairly straightforward. After all, an estimated 67 percent of the worlds population under the age of 50 have HSV-1, meaning theres a good chance that your partner has the virus.
But What If I Practice Safe Sex
If your partner has genital herpes, practicing safe sex can reduce the chances of you catching herpes, but it wont reduce your chances to zero.
If youre with a partner who has an outbreak, you shouldnt have sex at all, as a condom likely wont stop your skin coming into contact with their infected skin.
If your partner has genital herpes, but doesnt have symptoms, then remember you can still catch their virus. Protection, like condoms and dental dams, can minimise your chances, but wont be a perfect prevention.
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How Do People Get Genital Herpes
People can get infected with genital herpes when:
- They receive oral sex from a partner who has oral herpes .
- They touch a herpes sore and then touch their own genitals.
- Their genitals touch the skin in the genital area of someone who is infected .
Genital herpes can spread even if there are no sores because the virus is still in the body. The virus sometimes sheds in the skin near the genitals. When the virus is shedding, it can infect another person.
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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.
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When Both Partners Have Herpes
Congratulations you can skip having the talk! If you and your partner have the same type of herpes, you have more freedom than a couple not trying to infect one partner. If you both have HSV-2, for example, you both already have the antibodies built up and cannot be re-infected. Your outbreaks and symptoms will instead be affected by the strength of your immune system, so keep it strong.
You will also not necessarily have the same need to avoid sex during and around times of outbreaks, but you will probably want to, for the sake of avoiding discomfort or prolonging the outbreak by irritating it.
If you have different strains of herpes i.e. one of you has HSV-1 and one has HSV-2, read on. You are already well-protected by your antibodies. If you have HSV-2, you can still get, but might not be as likely to get, genital HSV-1. If you have HSV-1, however, you are still as susceptible to get HSV-2. Getting tested.
There are dating sites for people with herpes that can help you to meet potential partners with the same type of HSV as you. .
How Will My Healthcare Provider Know If I Have Genital Herpes
Your healthcare provider may diagnose genital herpes by simply looking at any sores that are present. Providers can also take a sample from the sore and test it. If sores are not present, a blood test may be used to look for HSV antibodies.
Have an honest and open talk with your healthcare provider about herpes testing and 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 when you got the infection.
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What Increases Your Risk
Things that increase your risk of getting genital herpes include:
- Having more than one sex partner.
- Having a high-risk partner or partners .
- Having unprotected sexual contact .
- Starting sexual activity at a young age. The younger people are when they start having sex, the greater their risk is of getting genital herpes.
- Having a weakened immune system.
- Being a woman. Women are more likely than men to become infected when exposed to genital herpes. And their symptoms tend to be more severe and longer-lasting. Women also are at a greater risk of having complications from a genital herpes infection.
Having herpes, especially if you have open sores, also increases your risk for becoming infected with HIV if you are exposed to HIV.
Any child with genital herpes needs to be evaluated by a doctor to see if it is the result of sexual abuse. For more information, see the topic Child Abuse and Neglect.
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Herpes: When Is It Safe To Have Sex
This content was published in 2012. We do not recommend that you take any clinical decisions based on this information without first ensuring you have checked the latest guidance.
A. Genital herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus, which can either be type I or type II . In the UK currently, genital lesions are equally likely to be caused by either type.
It appears that many infections are subclinical when the virus is first acquired and approximately 80 per cent of seropositive people are unaware that they have the infection. Initial infection may be either primary or non-primary . Already having one of the two types modifies the disease course, generally making it less severe.
Where patients have symptoms, these include:
- Painful lesions on or around the genital area, which tend to erupt in crops
- Painful or difficult urination
- Vaginal or urethral discharge
The genital soreness can sometimes prevent individuals from walking normally, and patients can experience urinary retention. Patients can also have systemic symptoms, such as fever, malaise and myalgia, particularly in an initial attack. Meningitis can develop in extreme cases.
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How Often Do Outbreaks Occur
The number of outbreaks someone has varies from person to person. The average number of outbreaks for a person with genital HSV-2 is four to five per year. The average for genital HSV-1 is less than one outbreak per year.
Usually, there are more outbreaks during the first year, and many people find that outbreaks become less severe and less frequent with time.
Herpes triggers are highly individual, but with time, many people learn to recognize, and sometimes avoid, factors that seem to reactivate HSV in their own bodies. Illness, poor diet, emotional or physical stress, friction in the genital area, prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light , surgical trauma, and steroidal medication may trigger a herpes outbreak.
The frequency of outbreaks can often be managed through effective stress management, and getting adequate rest, nutrition, and exercise. For people with frequent outbreaks, suppressive therapy with any one of the antiviral treatments can reduce outbreaks by as much as 80%.