Who Might Get Herpes Simplex
People of any age can contract herpes simplex. You are more likely to get the virus if you:
- Were assigned female at birth.
- Have had multiple sex partners.
- Started having sex at a young age.
- Have a history of any sexually transmitted infection .
- Have a weakened immune system.
- Dont use condoms for intercourse and dental dams for oral sex.
Who gets HSV-1, commonly known as oral herpes?
Anyone can get HSV-1. Most people contract HSV-1 during childhood. It spreads when an adult who has the virus has close contact with a child, such as when a family member kisses a child.
Who gets HSV-2, commonly known as genital herpes?
Genital herpes affects sexually active teens and adults of all genders and races. It can spread if you have multiple sexual partners and dont use condoms or dental dams.
People assigned female at birth are more at risk. Delicate vaginal tissue can tear, making it easier for the infection to get in. Black people who were AFAB are especially vulnerable, with an estimated 1 in 2 people AFAB between the ages of 14 and 49 infected with HSV-2.
How Effective Is Suppressive Therapy
Studies have proven that continuous suppressive antiviral therapy for herpes can dramatically reduce the frequency of herpes outbreaks or prevent them all together and reduces the risk of transmission by 50%.
For example, a very large study found that people who had an average of over 12 herpes occurrences a year, could reduce the frequency of their herpes outbreaks to less than two a year after one year of continuous suppressive therapy.
The study also showed that if recurrences do occur during suppressive therapy, they are usually less severe and shorter lasting.
I didnt want to take any drugs, so I tried natural therapies. These didnt work. I now take aciclovir 400mg twice a day and have not had any outbreaks since. If your outbreaks are frequent, I really recommend it. MK
What Can I Do If I Have Herpes
Many people who find out they have herpes feel depressed knowing they will 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 , 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 .
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Case #6 I Was Careful But I Still Transmitted Herpes
Kate and James have been together for a year. Kate is positive for HSV-2 that she got from a past partner. She has had only a few outbreaks and for the last five years has not had any symptoms.
Being a very ethical person, Kate informed James that she was positive for herpes. They decided to follow common-sense precautions:
- The wouldnât have sex when Kate has an outbreak
- They would have only protected sex
- Kate would take daily antiviral medication to reduce the risk of transmission
Despite these precautions, James recently had his first outbreak. Kate feels embarrassed and guilty about hurting James.
Theyâre both puzzled about why he got it when they followed so many precautions.
James got herpes from Kate despite the precautions they followed.
Dr. Fâs Explanation
- Transmission is possible even when precautions are followed
- Precautions only reduce the chance of transmission they donât eliminate it
- 50% reduction from antiviral suppressive medication
- 50% reduction from using protection
Wash Hands And Use Antibacterial Hand Gel
Even though a herpes sufferer may be very vigilant about not touching sores and not spreading the virus, there are still times that some incidental contact with the sores may occur. As a safeguard, it is helpful to maintain a routine of regular hand washing with hot water and soap. When hot water and soap is not available, antibacterial hand gel is a good substitute but should never be used exclusively in place of hand washing. After washing hands, do not wipe the hands on a towel that others will then have contact with because it is possible to spread the virus in this way. Always attempt to find a hand dryer or use disposable towels to dry hands.
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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:
Preparing To Talk To Partner
Before you talk about herpes and sexual health with a partner, make sure you are prepared to address any misinformation or misconceptions he or she might have. How well informed are you? Do you know the basic steps to reduce the risk to your partner? Do you know the facts about herpes? You want to feel confident and knowledgeable before you can explain the infection to someone else. Be prepared with information from ASHA and other reliable sources.
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How Are Hsv Infections Currently Treated And Prevented
People with HSV infections can take prescription antiviral medications like or to help resolve blisters when they appear. And some people will take these medications daily to prevent outbreaks, too. Over-the-counter options, such as the topical cream , are also available for cold sores.
One thing to know is that most people dont even know that they have an infection because they arent experiencing symptoms but its still possible to spread it to others if youre symptom-free. As a general rule, youll want to use condoms to help lower the chance of transmitting the virus during sex, especially if you know that youre carrying the virus.
But unfortunately, these strategies only work partially. People with HSV may find that available medications do not work well for them, and condoms may not cover all areas where blisters appear. This has prompted research into whether a vaccine for these viruses is possible.
How Can You Prevent The Spread Of Herpes
If you have herpes, how to reduce your risk of spreading herpes to you partners?. By using the following practices, many people have been successful in NOT spreading herpes to their partner might be much much lower. Genital herpes does not necessarily mean complete abstinence from sex or a reduced enjoyment of sex.
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What Are The Risks Of Getting Hsv From An Infected Person
HSV-2 most commonly causes genital herpes through contact with genital sores. However, it can even spread when there are no visible sores or partners who dont even know that they are infected. According to statistics, around 87% of people infected with HSV-2 dont know that they have the disease.
Several studies have experimented with the rate of transmission between partners. According to a 2004 study of the New England Journal of Medicine, there were 1484 couples, and one of the partners had the virus. The asymptomatic partner had monthly checkups to check for symptoms of the disease. Doctors educated 741 couples about protection using condoms to avoid herpes transmission. Amongst those couples, only 27 became infected, and 16 of them had an outbreak.
According to the CDC, almost 775,000 people contract genital herpes infection. Moreover, it is common in women because it transmits from men to women during sexual contact. Other than avoiding sexual contact, there is no other way to prevent the transmission completely. Using condoms can reduce the transmission, but it doesnt eliminate the risk. Alternatively, there is another method to reduce the risk of using antiviral medicines.
Avoid Sexual Contact During Outbreaks
During an outbreak of genital herpes, sexual contact of any type should be avoided. Genital herpes can easily be spread through sexual contact, and the use of prophylactics does not guarantee that the virus will not be spread. Genital herpes can be spread from regions that are not protected by a prophylactic. It is generally recommended by doctors that sexual contact should be avoided for at least one week after the sores from an outbreak have fully healed.
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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.
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How Can I Prevent Giving Genital Herpes To My Partner
You can reduce the risk of passing the herpes virus to your sexual partners by taking the following steps:
Tell current sexual partners that you have genital herpes. You also should tell future partners before having sexual contact.
Be alert to the symptoms that signal an outbreak is coming. Avoid sexual contact from the time you feel symptoms until a few days after the sores have gone away.
Wash your hands with soap and water after any possible contact with sores.
Take antiviral medication on a daily basis .
Use male latex condoms.
Its also important to know that you can pass HSV to someone else even when you do not have sores . The virus can be present on skin that looks normal, including right before and after an outbreak.
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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
The only way to completely prevent herpes and other STDs is to not have sex .
- *Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
Can I Catch Herpes Again On Another Part Of My Body Can My Partner Catch Herpes Back Off Me On Another Place
It is rare for people to re-catch a virus that they already have for a second time even on a different part of the body. Their immune system defends them against this. The virus does not travel through the body. So a person with a genital infection can kiss or perform oral sex there is no risk of infecting a partner by doing this the virus will not travel inside the body from the genitals to the mouth.
How can I protect my new partner? What about my new partner? How likely am I to infect my new partner?
Already, you are a safer partner than many others because you have been diagnosed so you will avoid sex from the moment you notice the start of an outbreak, until the time when it has totally cleared up. A man with genital herpes can protect a partner easily if his outbreaks appear in the area covered by a condom.
A woman with genital herpes can tell a man that he is half as likely to catch genital herpes from a woman, compared to the chance of a woman catching it from a man. This information can be useful for diagnosed women when talking to a new partner.
Herpes simplex infections are common. Many new partners will have one or both types already but not know. See the governments statistics for new genital herpes infections diagnosed in clinics in 2019 and add a further 53,000 cases which how many are probably diagnosed by GPs.
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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.
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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The Facts About Herpes
Herpes is a sexually transmitted infection thats passed on by skin to skin contact. It causes small blisters to form on and around the genitals, which eventually burst to become red sores, healing after around 10 days. While you should always use protection during sex, it is possible to pass on, or contract, herpes even if you use a condom.
Order effective genital herpes treatment
Will Suppressive Therapy Make It Easier To Live With Genital Herpes
Suppressive herpes therapy may give marked improvement to your emotional well-being. Many people find the fact that they can control the infection gives a boost to their sense of well-being and self-confidence. Even if only taken for a few months, suppressive therapy can help you to come to terms with emotions caused by recurrent genital herpes, including depression and anxiety.
However, suppressive therapy is only part of it. There are benefits gained from expert counselling from your doctor or nurse, or by speaking to a counsellor on the tollfree Herpes Helpline 0508 11 12 13. Make sure that you continue to talk to a health professional you are comfortable with, at least until you feel completely at ease with having genital herpes and in command of the infection.
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How Do I Protect My Partner From Genital Herpes
First, regardless of whether you have been diagnosed with HSV or not, make sure to:
- Use dental dams
- Exercise proper hygieneâ
If you have been diagnosed with genital herpes or had sexual contact with someone that had it, get tested and treated with antivirals during outbreaks.
Remember, regular STI testing is an essential foundation of sexual health and a way to protect yourself and your sexual partners from contracting and passing transmittable infections. ââ