Thursday, November 24, 2022

Can You Stop Herpes From Spreading

How To Check If You Have Asymptomatic Herpes

How Contagious is Herpes?

If you have no herpes symptoms but believe you might have been exposed to the virus, you can take a herpes test to verify whether or not youre infected.

The most accurate herpes testing method for asymptomatic people is an IgG test, which checks for the presence of IgG antibodies in your blood. These antibodies can signal a herpes infection using certain testing methods, they can also be used to differentiate between HSV-1 and HSV-2.

IgG antibodies can take several months to form after a herpes infection, meaning youll typically need to wait for 12 to 16 weeks before taking an IgG test to make sure you receive an accurate result.

If youre concerned that you might have asymptomatic herpes, the best approach is to speak to your doctor about testing options. Your doctor will be able to schedule a test based on the date of your potential exposure to the virus and provide you with an accurate diagnosis. If you discover you do have HSV-1 or HSV-2, the most important thing is to not panic. These viruses are extremely common, and there are a variety of anti-viral medications out there to help minimize the severity and requency of outbreaks. Most notably, vacyclovir.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

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What Are The Types Of Herpes Infections

Herpes is a very common type of viral infection. It is caused by the following types of viruses:

  • Herpes simplex virus type 1 : It is generally responsible for causing cold sores or blisters around the mouth region.
  • Herpes simplex virus type 2 : This type of virus usually leads to the formation of sores on the genital region.
  • Herpes zoster: This virus causes shingles and chickenpox.

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How Do Other Illnesses Affect Herpes Simplex

When people who have other illnesses that affect their immune system contract herpes simplex, they may develop a more serious infection. Those with AIDS and those who have had organ transplant surgery are more at risk for this as well. Sometimes pregnant women with genital herpes pass herpes simplex to their newborns during birth.

What Is The Difference Between Genital Herpes And Genital Warts

10 Ways to Prevent Herpes Outbreaks

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.

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I Had Lesions When I Was Evaluated But My Culture Was Negative Does This Mean That I Dont Have Herpes

Not necessarily. Although lesions can be caused by something other than herpes, false negative herpes tests can occur if the samples are not taken appropriately, if there is a long transport time between the clinic and the laboratory, or if cultures were taken late in the course of the lesions. Lesions that occur early in the course of a herpes outbreak are much more likely to have positive cultures than cultures taken after the lesions crust over.

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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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Preventing Herpes During Pregnancy

If you are an adult, the symptoms of herpes are usually manageable and rarely cause complications. However, herpes is transmitted to a baby before, during, or after childbirth, it can be dangerous.

Even with aggressive treatment, newborns who get herpes often die because they don’t have the immune defenses to fight off the infection, allowing it to spread to the liver, lungs, brain, and other parts of the body.

Neonatal herpes mainly occurs during childbirth as the baby comes into contact with lesions in the birth canal. Less commonly, the virus is passed while the baby is still in the womb or after birth when the newborn comes into contact with a herpes sore.

Since 85% of these infections occur during childbirth, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women with active recurrent genital herpes be given suppressive therapy starting at 36 weeks of pregnancy. Doing so can greatly reduce, but not entirely eliminate, the risk of infection.

After childbirth, mothers may need to limit contact with a newborn if an outbreak occurs. They also need to take extra care to wash their hands and any touched objects thoroughly and frequently.

Treatment If The Blisters Come Back

Protecting Against Herpes

Go to a GP or sexual health clinic if you have been diagnosed with genital herpes and need treatment for an outbreak.

Antiviral medicine may help shorten an outbreak by 1 or 2 days if you start taking it as soon as symptoms appear.

But outbreaks usually settle by themselves, so you may not need treatment.

Recurrent outbreaks are usually milder than the first episode of genital herpes.

Over time, outbreaks tend to happen less often and be less severe. Some people never have outbreaks.

Some people who have more than 6 outbreaks in a year may benefit from taking antiviral medicine for 6 to 12 months.

If you still have outbreaks of genital herpes during this time, you may be referred to a specialist.

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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.

Month Three To Multiple Years: Long

Most peoples pain decreases within two to three months, but for some the pain lingers longer. That persistent pain, called postherpetic neuralgia, is the most common complication of shingles, impacting up to 18% of folks with the infection. PHN develops when nerve fibers are damaged at the site of the shingles rash. The pain may be constant or intermittent, moderate, severe or even incapacitatingand it may last for months or even years. Its experienced as burning, itching, a stabbing pain or an altered sensation, says Dr. Rosen. While anyone can suffer with post herpetic neuralgia, your risk increases with age and with a history of chronic illness, such as asthma or diabetes.

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How To Diagnose Herpes Infections

Diagnosis of herpes infections is done by following methods-

  • Physical examination- Here the doctor does a thorough physical examination, checks the mouth, lips and genital areas for sores. Doctors may ask questions about the symptoms and a detailed medical history, to identify the cause and type of viral infection.
  • HSV testing- Also known as herpes culture test, here the doctor takes a swab sample of the fluid from the blister or sores present in the oral cavity or genitals and sends it for lab tests. This is to identify the virus causing the infections.
  • Blood tests- This is done to find the presence of antibodies . This helps to identify the infections in patients who dont have any sores or blisters.

What Are The Complications Of Herpes Infections

Herpes Treatment

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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Can Genital Herpes Cause Other Problems

For most women, genital herpes does not usually cause serious health problems.

Women with HIV can have severe herpes outbreaks that are long-lasting. Herpes also may play a role in the spread of HIV. Herpes sores can make it easier for HIV to get into your body. Also, herpes can make people who are HIV-positive more likely to spread the infection to someone else.

Week Four: Healing Scabs

Most people with shingles do not develop a blister-related infection. Instead, scabs appear once the blisters dry up and crust over. That typically occurs seven to 10 days post-blistery outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its important to remember that until scabs appear, your blisters contain the virus, which can cause others to catch the chickenpox. Its also important to continue to wash the area with a fragrance-free cleanser daily until the rash, blisters and scabs are completely clear. Within a month, your skins appearance will most likely return to normal, though some people are left with darker or lighter spots where the shingles rash occurred.

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Ways To Stop Herpes From Spreading

Herpes skin infection is highly contagious, and its sores take some time to heal. However, many couples have been living healthy lives without transmitting their herpes infection. Some may simply avoid sexual intercourse while others take certain precautions while they do engage in the same. Nevertheless, you should know how to take care and avoid spreading it someone else.

For partners: It can be helpful if you use a lubricant during sexual intercourse. Try to avoid sexual intercourse when you have a herpes outbreak and even if you do, use as much protection as you can. Always keep your partner informed about your problem, so you do not expose them to the same infection.

Dont aggravate the sores: Avoid having direct contact with these sores. The sores in the genital areas are the most infectious whereas the ones on the hips or the back are equally contagious. Wait for your sores to heal and fall off. Do not touch the herpes sores because they can spread infections to other parts of your body.

Avoid contact with children: If youre a mother and have herpes, you avoid as much physical contact as possible so that the infection doesnt affect your little ones.

How Does Genital Herpes Spread

Sexual Health – Herpes

The herpes virus that causes genital herpes spreads through saliva, semen and vaginal secretions. Its possible to get genital herpes from someone who doesnt have visible symptoms. You can have the infection, not know it and infect someone else.

Genital herpes can spread through:

  • Oral sex with someone whos infected.
  • Skin-to-skin contact without ejaculation.
  • Touching open sores, including while breastfeeding.
  • Childbirth by a mother or gestational parent who has an active infection.

You cant get genital herpes from objects like toilet seats. But you could pass genital herpes through shared sex toys.

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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 Are The Different Types Of Herpes

There are two types of herpes simplex virus: HSV I and HSV II. HSV I commonly causes oral herpes, or cold sores. This virus can show up as an upper respiratory tract infection during early childhood. HSV II is the cause of most cases of genital herpes. However, it is possible for HSV I to cause genital herpes and HSV II to cause oral herpes.

Clinicians cannot tell the difference between the two types by physical examination alone, but there are differences between the two viruses. For example, genital herpes caused by HSV II is much more likely to recur. This diagnosis can be helpful in establishing a health care plan.

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Prevention Of Genital Herpes

The best protection against STIs is to always use barrier protection such as condoms, female condoms and dams . Because herpes is spread by skin-to-skin contact, condoms will reduce the risk of transmission, but it will not protect sexual partners completely as condoms do not cover the entire genitals.

Using lubricant with a condom during sex will also reduce the risk of trauma to the genital skin. This has been shown to reduce HSV transmission, especially in the first six months of a sexual relationship. Silicone-based lubricants are recommended.

Remember that herpes transmission can occur when symptoms are present , but may also occur even if there are no genital symptoms through asymptomatic viral shedding.

For people who have frequent episodes of genital herpes, antiviral medication, taken daily, helps to reduce transmission of herpes to a sexual partner.

Why Genital Herpes Comes Back

How to Stop Herpes Outbreak

Genital herpes is caused by a virus called herpes simplex. Once you have the virus, it stays in your body.

It will not spread in your body to cause blisters elsewhere. It stays in a nearby nerve and causes blisters in the same area.

If you can, avoid things that trigger your symptoms.

Triggers can include:

  • surgery on your genital area
  • a weakened immune system for example, from having chemotherapy for cancer

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Is There A Cure Or Treatment For Herpes

Theres no cure for the herpes virus yet. A herpes vaccine doesnt currently exist, as the herpes virus has more complicated DNA than most infections, creating challenges for researchers.

However, medication can help with symptoms, like sores, and outbreaks. Medication also lowers the risk of transmission to others. You can take most medications for herpes orally, though you may also apply some as a cream or receive them by injection.

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.

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Can Herpes Be Passed To Baby

If a woman with genital herpes has virus present in the birth canal during delivery, herpes simplex virus can be spread to an infant, causing neonatal herpes, a serious and sometimes fatal condition. Neonatal herpes can cause an overwhelming infection resulting in lasting damage to the central nervous system, mental retardation, or death.

Women who acquire genital herpes before they become pregnant have a very low risk of transmitting the virus to their babies. This is because their immune systems make antibodies that are temporarily passed to the baby through the placenta.

Can I Still Have Sex If I Have Herpes

Herpes Spreads, Even Without Symptoms

If you have herpes, you should talk to your sex partner about their risk. Using condoms may help lower this risk but it will not get rid of the risk completely. Having sores or other symptoms of herpes can increase your risk of spreading the disease. Even if you do not have any symptoms, you can still infect your sex partners.

You may have concerns about how genital herpes will impact your health, sex life, and relationships. While herpes is not curable, it is important to know that it is manageable with medicine. Daily suppressive therapy can lower your risk of spreading the virus to others. Talk to a healthcare provider about your concerns and treatment options.

A genital herpes diagnosis may affect how you will feel about current or future sexual relationships. Knowing how to talk to sexual partners about STDs is important.

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