What Happens At A Sexual Health Clinic
The doctor or nurse at the sexual health clinic will:
- ask about your symptoms and your sexual partners
- use a small cotton bud to take some fluid from 1 of your blisters or sores for testing
The test cannot:
- be done if you do not have visible blisters or sores
- tell you how long you have had herpes or who you got it from
Symptoms might not appear for weeks or even years after youre infected with the herpes virus.
If you have genital herpes, your previous sexual partners should get tested.
The doctor or nurse at the clinic can discuss this with you and help you tell your partners without letting them know its you who has the virus.
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- What is the best treatment for me?
- What happens if I dont treat a cold sore?
- What are the side effects of antiviral medications?
- How can I reduce the risk of future outbreaks?
- Whats the best way to prevent getting another STI?
- How can I protect my partner from getting genital herpes?
- Should I lookout for signs of complications?
Foods To Avoid With Herpes
1. Arginine-Rich Foods
Arginine-high foods encourage the growth of the herpes virus as it is a source of food for the disease. It promotes the formation of the blisters and sore associated with the virus. In order to avoid stimulating an outbreak, you should avoid foods high in arginine. Such foods include:
2. Caffeine Beverages and Foods
Foods to avoid with herpes include those containing caffeine. Caffeine is a natural stimulate that causes your bodys systems to work harder. When it runs its course, you are tired and in a weakened state. This makes you more vulnerable to viruses and allows herpes outbreaks. Caffeine-rich foods and drinks to skip include:
3. Highly Acidic Drinks and Foods
Foods rich in acidity can make you susceptible to illness, including viruses because they affect your immune system. They also support arginine, which can lead to herpes outbreaks. Avoid acidic foods such as:
- Excessive red meat
4. Refined Carbohydrates
Pasta, baked goods and high-fructose drinks are full of refined carbohydrates, which weaken your immune system and make you susceptible to a herpes breakout. Because sugar contradicts vitamin C, it affects the way it fights infection.
5. Artificial Sweeteners
6. Processed and Junk Food
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Common Medications Used To Treat Herpes
While no drug can cure herpes, antiviral medication such as acyclovir can prevent the virus from multiplying. Taking an antiviral medication can help outbreaks clear up faster as well as help decrease the severity of symptoms.
For people who have less than six recurrent outbreaks of herpes per year, doctors typically use episodic treatment to manage symptoms. This means that each time a person has an outbreak, their doctor will prescribe a five-day course of antivirals.
If a person has more than six recurrent outbreaks of herpes per year, then the doctor may suggest suppressive treatment. This involves taking a daily antiviral treatment indefinitely with the goal of preventing future outbreaks. Suppressive treatment also substantially decreases the likelihood of passing herpes to a partner, but there is still a risk.
For more information on available treatment options, consult your healthcare provider. It can also be helpful to speak with a provider or counselor, or consult online resources, for guidance on how to talk to sexual partners about STIs.
Can Genital Herpes Come Back
Yes. Genital herpes symptoms can come and go, but the virus stays inside your body even after all signs of the infection have gone away. The virus becomes “active” from time to time, leading to an outbreak. Some people have outbreaks only once or twice. Other people may have four or five outbreaks within a year. Over time, the outbreaks usually happen less often and are less severe.
Experts do not know what causes the virus to become active. Some women say the virus comes back when they are sick, under stress, out in the sun, or during their period.
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What Complications Are Connected With An Untreated Genital Herpes Infection
Just as there are health risks associated with untreated chlamydia in men and women, there are also risks connected with untreated herpesÃ¢even in asymptomatic patients. Not only does the infection increase your likelihood of contracting and transmitting other STDs, but it can also lead to:
- Difficulty urinating, due to inflammation of the urethra
- Infections in newborns exposed to the virus during a vaginal birth, which can severely harm the childÃ¢s health
- Rectal inflammation , especially in men who have sex with men
The best way to avoid these complications is to practice safe sex and routinely screen for STDs. You can conveniently check for 6 common STDs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis C, HIV, syphilis, and trichomoniasis from the privacy of your home with the Everlywell STD Test for men and women.
Limit The Number Of Partners
For now, there is no HSV vaccination available, but there are different vaccines that are in clinical trials or pre-development phase, so till then, lets just focus on the silver lining for now, i.e. reducing the chances of transmission by taking necessary aforementioned precautions.
You can also follow the discussions on the latest trials that are being conducted to keep yourself posted about when the treatment will finally be available.
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How Common Is Genital Herpes
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 40 million to 50 million adults in the United States have genital herpes. HSV II infection is more common in women and in people who have had more than five sexual partners. Most people with HSV II do not know they have it, because it does not always cause symptoms.
Herpes Causes And Risk Factors
Causes of herpes include acquiring the virus through sexual contact, coupled with immune system suppression and sometimes nutritional deficiencies.
HSV-1 is primarily transmitted by oral-oral contact. On the other hand, HSV-2 is considered a sexually transmitted disease and usually passed during oral or vaginal sex.
A scary finding is that more cases of genital herpes than ever before are now being caused by HSV-1 , and about 85 percent of people with genital herpes dont even know it. Studies show that about 50 percent of the new genital herpes infections in young adults are due to HSV-1 and about 40 percent in older adults. The fact that most people dont ever find out theyre infected is one of the reasons that transmission rates are steadily climbing.
Risk factors for acquiring herpes include:
- Kissing someone who has symptoms of an active herpes virus
- Engaging in any form of unprotected sex
- Having sex with multiple partners
- Spreading the virus through contact with cold sores on the eyes, secretions on the fingers, or ulcers/sores on buttocks and upper thighs
- Having certain other illnesses that lower immune function, such as HIV/AIDS, an autoimmune disorder or hepatitis
- Eating a poor diet that causes nutrient deficiencies and lowered immunity
- Smoking cigarettes, drinking high amounts of alcohol or abusing drugs
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If You Have Genital Herpes Already Can It Be Spread To Other Parts Of The Body Such As The Arms Or Legs
No. Genital herpes cannot be transmitted to another part of your body such as your arm, leg or hand after the first infection occurs. If you have genital HSV II, you will not get HSV II at another site in your body. The immune system produces antibodies that protect other parts of your body from infection. However, there are cases where a person has multiple site infections from the same virus. This is usually acquired at the time of the first infection. For example, if someone has never had herpes but then has oral and genital sex with an infected partner, they can acquire the infection at both sites.
Where Does The Herpes Virus Live In The Body
The herpes simplex viruses are latent, meaning they can live in the body without causing symptoms. After the initial infection, the virus gets into the nerve roots and spreads to the sensory nerve ganglia, the junctions where nerves from different parts of the body come together. For the genital area, the ganglia are adjacent to the spinal cord in the lower back. For orofacial herpes , the ganglia are located behind the cheek bone.
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Treatment If The Blisters Come Back
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.
How Can I Prevent Genital Herpes
If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting genital herpes:
- Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who does not have herpes.
- Using condoms the right way every time you have sex.
Be aware that not all herpes sores occur in areas that a condom can cover. Also, the skin can release the virus from areas that do not have a visible herpes sore. For these reasons, condoms may not fully protect you from getting herpes.
If your sex partner has/have genital herpes, you can lower your risk of getting it if:
- Your partner takes an anti-herpes medicine every day. This is something your partner should discuss with his or her healthcare provider.
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How Do I Talk With People About Having Herpes
It might feel scary to admit you have herpes, but talking about things can really ease your mind. You could lean on a close, non-judgmental friend that you trust to keep the conversation private. Parents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, and other family members can also be a source of comfort. Remember, herpes is really common, so its possible the person youre talking to has herpes, too.
There are a lot of online support groups for people who have herpes, and the American Sexual Health Association has a list of support groups that meet in person.
Im Pregnant How Could Genital Herpes Affect My Baby
If you are pregnant and have genital herpes, prenatal care visits are very important. Some research suggest that a genital herpes infection may lead to miscarriage or make it more likely to deliver your baby too early. You can pass herpes to your unborn child before birth, but it more commonly passes during delivery. This can lead to a deadly infection in your baby . It is important that you avoid getting genital herpes during pregnancy. Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had a genital herpes diagnosis or symptoms. Also tell them about any possible exposure to genital herpes.
If you have genital herpes, you may need to take anti-herpes medicine towards the end of your pregnancy. This medicine may reduce your risk of having signs or symptoms of genital herpes when you deliver. At the time of delivery, your healthcare provider should carefully examine you for herpes sores. If you have signs or symptoms of genital herpes at delivery, a C-section is likely to occur.
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How To Avoid Getting Genital Herpes
The most effective way to avoid getting genital herpes is to abstain entirely from sex, or to maintain an exclusive sexual relationship with a long term partner who has been tested for and found to be free of herpes.
You can avoid contracting herpes from a new sexual partner by always using a latex condom or latex dental dam. Cold sores on the mouth are also caused by a type of herpes virus, and you can contract genital herpes by receiving oral sex from someone who has or gets cold sores. You can also get cold sores on your mouth from giving oral sex to someone who has herpes.
Genital herpes is always contagious, even when symptoms aren’t present. Always use protection with a new partner, and make sure you and your partner both get tested for STDs, including genital herpes, before you begin a monogamous relationship. If you know your partner has genital herpes, avoid all sexual contact during an outbreak, and always use condoms or dental dams to protect yourself from contracting herpes during sexual contact with your infected partner.
Recurrent Episodes Of Genital Herpes
Recurrences are usually less painful and shorter in duration than the first episode of genital herpes. Over time, episodes usually become less frequent and may eventually stop altogether. Infections caused by HSV1 are less likely to recur in the genital area than infections caused by HSV2.
Recurrences may be triggered by:
- no apparent reason noted.
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Preventing The Spread Of Herpes
Even when you do not have sores, you can pass the virus to someone during sexual or other close contact. To protect others:
- Let any sexual partner know that you have herpes before having sex. Allow them to decide what to do.
- Use latex or polyurethane condoms, and avoid sex during symptomatic outbreaks.
- Do not kiss or have oral sex when you have a sore on the lips or inside the mouth.
- Do not share your towels, toothbrush, or lipstick. Make sure dishes and utensils you use are washed well with detergent before others use them.
- Wash your hands well with soap and water after touching a sore.
- Consider using daily antiviral medicine to limit viral shedding and reduce the risk of passing the virus to your partner.
- You may also want to consider getting your partner tested even if they have never had an outbreak. If you both have the herpes virus, there is no risk for transmission.
Who Response To Herpes
As well as increasing awareness about HSV infection and its symptoms, improved access to antiviral medications and heightened HIV prevention efforts for those with genital HSV symptoms are needed globally.
In addition, development of better treatment and prevention interventions is needed, particularly HSV vaccines. WHO and partners are working to accelerate research to develop new strategies for prevention and control of genital and neonatal HSV-1 and HSV-2 infections. Such research includes the development of HSV vaccines and topical microbicides. Several candidate vaccines and microbicides are currently being studied.
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Risk For Genital Herpes
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , about 1 in 6 Americans ages 14 to 49 years have genital herpes. While HSV-2 remains the main cause of genital herpes, HSV-1 has significantly increased as a cause, most likely because of oral-genital sex. Except for people in monogamous relationships with uninfected partners, everyone who is sexually active is at risk for genital herpes.
Risk factors for genital herpes include:
- History of an STD
- First sexual intercourse at an early age
- High number of sexual partners
- Low socioeconomic status
Women are more susceptible to HSV-2 infection because herpes is more easily transmitted from men to women than from women to men. About 1 in 5 women, compared to 1 in 9 men, have genital herpes. African-American women are at particularly high risk.
People with compromised immune systems, such as those who have HIV, are at very high risk for genital herpes. These people are also at risk for more severe complications from herpes. Drugs that suppress the immune system, and organ transplantation, can also weaken the immune system and increase the risk for contracting genital herpes.
How To Treat A Genital Herpes Outbreak Quickly And Dry Out
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How To Tell If A Herpes Outbreak Is Coming
Herpesis an infection caused by a virus. It occurs anywhere on your body. Antiviralmedication like Prosurx can help treat symptoms. But herpes outbreaks can occurat any time. This article will talk in detail about this condition, how to tellif a herpes outbreak is coming, and how to deal with it.
Herpesis one of themost common STIs in the US. It is caused by two closely relatedviruses, named HSV-1 and HSV-2.
- HSV-1 causes oral herpes or cold sore.It usually affects the lips, mouth, nose and face, causing blisters or sores. HSV-1can be passed through skin contact like touching, kissing and by sexualcontact.
Toknow what kind of herpes you have, speak to your doctor. They will examine yoursymptoms and take a sample of fluid from the sores to test it. If necessary,they may recommend a bloodtest to confirm the diagnosis.