Choose The Right Moment
Its good to initiate this conversation when you and your partner are alone and free from distractions. There may not be a perfect time, but some moments are better than others. Avoid times when other major conflicts or stressors are occurring.
Once youre alone and comfortable, broach the subject with your partner. Stay focused and use the following techniques to help you share the information clearly and succinctly.
Let Your Partner Think Before Making A Decision
People can react differently to hearing that you have genital herpes. Sometimes, you might be surprised to discover that the person youre coming out to also has herpes, and was dreading the prospect of sharing their status with you.
Sometimes, your partner might be well informed about herpes and willing to take a test to check if they also have the virus before having a relationship. Some people might simply not care and feel comfortable having a relationship with you even knowing about your HSV-2 status.
On the other hand, some people even people who might have been highly interested in you might not feel comfortable having a sexual or romantic relationship after finding out about your genital herpes. The reasons can differ, but for many people, any STD is a hard no.
The key point here is that you cant expect everyone to react the same way. One way to make it easier for your partner is to give them time. Suggest that they take a day or two to think about it before contacting you to see how they feel.
If someone is seriously interested in you, they might want to take a day or two to research the facts about herpes before giving you a yes. Or, they could just need an hour to double-check the data before inviting you back over for a cup of coffee.
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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Is Genital Herpes Related To Shingles
Shingles, also called herpes zoster, is caused by the varicella zoster virus , which causes chickenpox earlier in life. The natural history of varicella zoster infection is similar to genital herpes infection in that VZV also becomes latent in the sensory nerve roots. Later in life the virus may exit, causing shingles.
Recurrences in shingles cause blister lesions in a single area of skin called a dermatome. Shingles is not a sexually transmitted infection and is independent from genital herpes.
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.
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Are Canker Sores A Form Of Herpes
Canker sores are different than cold sores. They usually produce a little white spot and a small ulcer in your mouth that heals within a couple of days. In nearly all cases, canker sores arent contagious like herpes-caused cold sores.
Rarely, a subset of canker sores is associated with the herpes virus, Dr. Anthony says. The occasional, one-off canker sore isnt anything to be concerned about. But for severe and frequent canker sores, your doctor may recommend testing for the herpes virus.
How Are Genital Herpes Diagnosed
Other STIs, like syphilis, cause similar symptoms. In addition to a physical exam, your healthcare provider will take a fluid sample from the blisters to test for the herpes virus. If your blisters are healed or you dont have blisters, a blood test can check for HSV-2 antibody, a marker that shows you have been exposed to the virus.
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What Can I Do If I Have Herpes Simplex 2
Many people who find out they have herpes feel depressed knowing theyâll 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 .
Ease Their Concerns About Transmission
Let them know that its possible to have sex without their getting it. Educate them that in fact, theres actually a very low rate of transmission if you avoid sex during outbreaks. That that low rate becomes 30% lower if you use condoms. And much lower if you use Valtrex as suppressive therapy and condoms. In fact, the chances are vanishingly small according to studies done by Valtrex about transmission rates under various conditions. At that point, its downright unlikely.
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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.
What Happens If I Dont Get Treated
Genital herpes can cause painful genital sores and can be severe in people with suppressed immune systems.
If you touch your sores or the fluids from the sores, you may transfer herpes to another part of your body, such as 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, immediately wash your hands thoroughly to help avoid spreading your infection.
If you are pregnant, there can be problems for you and your developing fetus, or newborn baby. See Im pregnant. How could genital herpes affect my baby? above for information about this.
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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.
How Does Herpes Simplex Spread
Herpes spreads through close contact with a person who has the infection. The virus can be found in skin and saliva. If you have herpes simplex, you are most likely to pass the virus to another person when you have sores. But you can infect someone else even if you have no symptoms. Healthcare providers call this asymptomatic viral shedding.
People may get HSV-1 through
- Touching a persons skin near the mouth.
- Sharing food utensils, lip balm or razors.
- If you receive oral sex from someone who has a cold sore, it may spread a herpes infection to your genitals.
People may get HSV-2 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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How Can I Lower My Risk Of Getting Stis And Bbvs
You can lower your risk of getting STIs and BBVs by using barrier protection correctly during any type of sex and when sharing sex toys.
Barrier protection is not 100% effective at preventing STIs and BBVs.
You can also lower your risk of getting a BBV by:
- not sharing injecting equipment, razors, nail clippers
- only getting tattoos and piercing in regulated places
- talking to your doctor or nurse about HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis and post-exposure prophylaxis if you are at risk of HIV exposure.
You can also lower your risk of getting an STI or BBV by both you and your sexual partners having regular STI and BBV testing.To get an STI or BBV test at Sexual Health Victoria, see our clinics or you can book an appointment online.
Where to get moreinformation and support
Will Genital Herpes Come Back
There is no cure for genital herpes. Once you have HSV, it lives in your nerve pathways and symptoms may return at any time.
HSV symptoms are more likely to return:
- if you are stressed or rundown
Antiviral medications, taken every day, can control HSV and manage symptoms. Speak with your doctor or nurse about the treatment options that are most suitable for you.
There is evidence to suggest having one type of HSV offers some protection from the other type of HSV, but this is not a guarantee. If you have one type of HSV, it is still possible to be infected with another type of HSV.
After A Herpes Diagnosis: Legal Issues
A positive herpes test, like a positive test for any STD, is very frustrating and stressful.
- Herpes is not curable. Once you have it, you have it for life
- The perceived stigma of having it, along with a lot of misconceptions, stress people even more
When they find out about their positive test, people usually scrutinize their current or recent relationship and blame their partner.
The most common reason for a herpes-related lawsuit is not discussing the issue with a partner: withholding the truth.
Since weâve been dealing with STDs for decades, weâve served as medical expert witnesses in court.
This article is a doctorâs perspective on certain legal issues. It is not legal advice, and we encourage you to contact an attorney if you need legal advice.
How To Check If You Have Asymptomatic 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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Are You Legally Required To Tell Someone If You Have An Std Like Herpes
Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. | August 31, 2021 | Personal Injury
Herpes and other STDs can have a significant impact on your life. However, they can also impact the lives of your sexual partners. If you have an STD, you may wonder whether youre required to let someone know about your condition.
You dont need to tell everyone about your STD. However, New York law requires you to disclose this information to a sexual partner before engaging in sexual acts that can result in the transmission of an STD.
Do You Need To Tell Your Partner If You Dont Have Visible Outbreaks
Accordingly, some people choose not to tell. Instead they abstain during herpes outbreaks, practice safe sex at other times, and hope for the best.
The problem with herpes is that there is no guarantee that you will not transmit it even if you take all the precautions possible. There are several days throughout the year when herpes can be spread even when no symptoms are present. The risk will be small but still a risk, which is why it is humane to tell someone before putting them in a situation where they could contract a life long condition.
This strategy may have more disadvantages than advantages. First of all, you spend a lot of time and energy worrying that your partner is going to get herpes. Itâs much harder to tell someone if they just found out theyâre infected with herpes. For most people, the anxiety over not telling your partner you have herpes is worse than the telling itself.
On the other hand, by telling your partner you have herpes and allowing them to enter into the relationship with full knowledge of your infection, you reduce the likelihood of them becoming infected with herpes. This is because, when you have an outbreak, you can discuss it with your partner instead of making excuses for why you canât have sex.
Excuses create distance between partners and often lead to misunderstanding and guesswork. Your partner might interpret your excuses in ways more detrimental to the relationship than an honest discussion of herpes would be.
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What Should You Discuss About Herpes
Talk about when it is safe to have sex. “Some important information to share would be whether or not you have frequent outbreaks, which is the highest risk time for transmission,” Dr. Baldwin said. Avoid sexual activity during a symptom outbreak, or if you have pain or tingling in the areas you get lesions since that can be a warning sign of an outbreak.
You should also tell your partner if you are on any antiviral medications. Taken daily, drugs like acyclovir and valacyclovir , can significantly reduce the risk of herpes transmissionbut not 100%. You should use condoms even while taking these drugs, but condoms cannot fully prevent the virus from spreading because the virus can spread on genital areas not covered by a condom.
As long as you’re honest and safe, herpes shouldn’t kill a budding relationship. “From my point of view, I don’t think it’s a deal-breaker,” Warren said.
Is It A Crime
Intentionally transmitting an STD is a crime in many states. A conviction for one of these offenses can be used as evidence in a personal injury case.
California is a state that makes intentionally transmitting an STD a crime. California Health and Safety Code 120290 HS makes it illegal to transmit infectious diseases. This includes STDs like:
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Do Condoms Help Prevent The Spread Of Genital Herpes
Yes. To prevent transmission of herpes, we recommend that condoms be used 100% of the time. Many patients will shed the virus and be contagious when they dont have symptoms. Studies have shown that asymptomatic shedding occurs between 1% and 3% of the time in patients with HSV II genital infections. Many new herpes infections occur from partners who are shedding the virus asymptomatically, so condoms are highly recommended.
Condoms may not be an attractive option for monogamous couples or for couples who desire to become pregnant. Couples may opt to have serological tests to determine if either partner has an asymptomatic infection. In close monogamous relationships, the risks of transmission can be weighed against other relationship issues, such as intimacy and pregnancy.