What’s The Difference Between Hsv1 And Hsv2
Gladdddd you asked! HSV-1 and HSV-2 two are slightly different strains of the same viral family. While you may have heard folks claim that HSV-1 = oral herpes, while HSV-2 = genital herpes, that oversimplification isn’t quite accurate.
The viral strain HSV-1 typically prefers the oral mucus membranes , while the viral strain HSV-2 typically prefers the genital mucus membranes . But that doesn’t mean those strains can only infect those specific spots, explains Felice Gersh, M.D., author of PCOS SOS: A Gynecologist’s Lifeline to Naturally Restore Your Rhythms, Hormones, and Happiness.
Let’s say, for instance, someone with HSV-1 oral herpes gives barrier-free oral sex to their partner. That partner could contract HSV-1 on their genitals. In fact, “nowadays, HSV-1 is the leading cause of genital herpes,” says Dr. Gersh. It’s also possible for HSV-2 to infect the mouth and lips.
Dr. Gersh’s personal hypothesis is that many people don’t know that cold sores are a type of herpes, so don’t think twice about giving their partner oral sex when they have a blister, and many people with genital herpes don’t know they have it, so don’t think twice about receiving oral sex. Which brings us to the question…
Myth #: You Can’t Contract Herpes If You Always Practice Safe Sex
Condoms only cover part of the area in which herpes can manifest, says Dr. Dweck, which means that they don’t fully protect you from catching the virus.
For this reason, there is one way to practice mostly safe sex with respect to herpes. In other words, you can’t protect yourself from getting it, but someone with herpes can protect you by taking what Dr. Dweck calls “prophylactic antiviral medication,” e.g. Valtrex, every day, whether there’s an outbreak or not. “I have a lot of patients who are in a discordant couple, meaning that one person has herpes and the other doesn’t and they want to prevent transmission,” says Dr. Dweck. “The person who has it can take Valtrex to help prevent transmission.”
When Should You Get Tested
The best time to get tested for herpes varies, depending on what’s happening.
If you’re exhibiting symptoms of an initial outbreak which include pain, itching and redness of the affected location fatigue, fever and chills and, ultimately, painful sores or ulcers it’s best to see a healthcare professional about getting tested.
However, if you think you’ve been exposed to the virus and aren’t yet exhibiting symptoms, HSV may take some time before being able to show results on a test. While the exact time frame is unknown and varies from person to person, two weeks is usually enough time to yield accurate test results.
Most people become concerned about being infected with the herpes virus after contact with a potentially infected person. Often, simple things like kissing someone with a visible cold sore or facial acne around the lips can cause concern about HSV-1.
For genital herpes, most people become concerned about potentially being infected after sexual contact with a person that shows symptoms of herpes. This can include oral sex with someone that has cold sores, which can potentially spread to the genitals.
Since herpes is asymptomatic in many people, you could be infected with the virus even if you dont have any symptoms.
Also Check: Can You Get Rid Of Herpes
Herpes Testing : What Are Your Options
Medically reviewed by Michele Emery, DNP
Are you worried you might have been exposed to the herpes virus?
First: don’t panic. The HSV viruses are a lot more common than you may think, and are very manageable in most cases.
Second: if you think youve been exposed to the herpes virus, testing is going to be your first plan of action.
Take a couple deep breaths and when you’re ready, read on.
How Is The Test Used
Herpes testing may be used a few different ways:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend screening for herpes in the general population, but it may be helpful in some cases, such as:
- If you have signs and symptoms, such as genital sores that may be related to herpes
- If you have or had a sex partner with genital herpes
- If you would like to have a complete exam for sexually transmitted diseases , especially if you have multiple sex partners if this is the case, you should discuss STD testing with your healthcare practitioner.
Read Also: Can You Treat Herpes At Home
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.
Are There Any Risks To The Test
There is no known risk to having a swab test.
There is very little risk to having a blood test. You may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly.
If you had a lumbar puncture, you may have pain or tenderness in your back where the needle was inserted. You may also get a headache after the procedure.
You May Like: Can You Tell How Long You Ve Had Herpes
Is There Anything Else I Need To Know About An Hsv Test
The best way to prevent genital herpes or another STD is to not have sex. If you are sexually active, you can reduce your risk of infection by
- Being in a long-term relationship with one partner who has tested negative for STDs
- Using condoms correctly every time you have sex
If you’ve been diagnosed with genital herpes, condom use can reduce your risk of spreading the infection to others.
How To Test For Herpes
If you suspect you have herpes, the first thing you should do is contact your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider can examine your blisters or sores to check for herpes. If you do have an HSV infection, your healthcare provider may recommend a treatment plan for you.
The Center for Disease Control recommends a genital herpes test if you have symptoms of herpes or a sexual partner who has genital herpes . Note that some people have asymptomatic herpes and donât show symptoms, but the CDC does not recommend asymptomatic screening for herpes .
If you would like an easy at-home option to test for 6 other common STIs, try the Everlywell home STD Test for women or the STD Test for men which checks for chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis C, HIV, syphilis, and trichomoniasis. Once your sample is received and analyzed at the lab, the test results are sent to you quickly and discreetly via our secure, online platform.
Read Also: Are You Born With Herpes
Why Are There State
Syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia are notifiable diseases in the United States, but herpes is not. A disease is notifiable if healthcare providers in all 50 states are required by law to report the diagnosis to their state or local health departments. CDC is also notified, and publishes state-by-state data for these infections. Because herpes infections are not notifiable infections by law, CDC is not able to provide state-by-state data. Public health surveillance for herpes infections is mainly done through population-based, national surveys, such as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey .
Thats Not To Say I Never Recommend Herpes Testing
People who have multiple partners, HIV, or are sex workers are considered high-risk by the CDC and should be routinely tested. If you have a one night stand and dont know anything about your partnermaybe they have multiple partnersits not unreasonable to get testing done even if you dont have symptoms, but you should know everything I said above still applies when you get your result.
“Maybe 10 years ago, herpes had more of a stigma, but today it’s as common as an abnormal pap smear.”
Pregnant women who have had outbreaks should also be tested so that they can take pills to reduce the risk of an outbreak during delivery. If a woman does have an outbreak around the time of labor, shell need a C-section because its dangerous for babies to be exposed to the virus. Still, there’s no need to get tested if you haven’t had an outbreak.
And of course, if you have genital lesions, get tested to confirm that its herpes. Youll be treated right then with a pill for that outbreak and, if you never have another outbreak again, you wont need any further treatment. If you have more frequent outbreaks, you can choose between a few medication regimens based on factors like your insurance.
Basically, a herpes test is not going to change your lifeas long as you don’t freak out and divorce your husband over it.
Dr. Rachel Rapkin is an ob-gyn and assistant professor at the University of South Florida College of Medicine.
You May Like: How To Avoid Genital Herpes Outbreaks
Can I Take The Test At Home
At-home tests are available to test for evidence of an HSV infection. At-home herpes testing typically detects HSV antibodies in a self-collected sample of blood and may require additional follow-up if preliminary results are positive. At-home herpes tests can be obtained online or at a local pharmacy.
Whats The Difference Between An Sti And An Std
If you were lucky enough to have some semblance of sex education did you know only 30 of the 50 United States mandate it? Atrocious! chances are your instructor called things like gonorrhea and herpes sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs for short.
But somewhere between then and now, the acronym got a makeover.
Now, it seems like everyone is calling them sexually transmitted infections, or STIs.
So whats the difference? Well, according to Planned Parenthood, infections are only called diseases when they cause symptoms, which
- sexually transmitted infections = infections caused by sexual contact that are asymptomatic
- sexually transmitted diseases = infections caused by sexual contact that are symptomatic
If a vulva owner has HPV but is currently carrying no symptoms, thats an STI. But in the case begin to develop symptoms, that would now be called an STD, explains Dr. Earim Chaudry, MRCGP, general practitioner and medical director at mens wellness platform Manual.
These terms are still used synonymously in most places, says Dr. Kristy Goodman, OB-GYN and co-founder and CEO of PreConception. And some organizations like the CDC have simply stuck with calling them STDs.
You May Like: How Soon After Exposure To Herpes Can You Get Tested
Iv How An Oral Herpes Infection Works
An oral herpes infection is commonly acquired in childhood through non-sexual oral contact with an infected person. It appears in the form of cold sores or fever blisters on the lips, mouth, and tongue. HSV is asymptomatic, so while some people may have sores, others dont even know they have the virus.
Sores typically heal on their own within 7-14 days, but theres no cure for HSV an infection remains with you for life. There may be recurring outbreaks of the cold sores, but frequency decreases over time.
Infected persons can transmit HSV-1 to another person through their saliva or cold sores. This could be through kissing or sharing a cup, fork, toothbrush, or razor. Its most easily spread when sores are present but can be transmitted even if symptoms arent present. This is called asymptomatic reactivation or shedding, meaning the virus lays dormant and is occasionally reactivated.
Oral herpes is not a major health concern for most healthy children and non-pregnant adults. HSV can be life-threatening in newborns as their immune system is still developing. Babies may get HSV-1 from close contact with someone whos shedding the virus in their saliva, such as a caregiver. They may also get HSV-2 from their mother during vaginal birth.
If you have an HSV-1 infection, your body has developed antibodies, and youre unlikely to get HSV-1 in another part of your body. However, you can still get genital herpes from HSV-2.
Where Can I Get Tested For Herpes
You can get tested for herpes and other STDs at your doctors office, a community health clinic, the health department, or your local Planned Parenthood health center.
STD testing isnt usually part of your regular checkup or gynecologist exam you have to ask for it. Be honest with your nurse or doctor so they can help you figure out which tests are best for you. Dont be embarrassed: Your doctor is here to help you, not to judge you.
You May Like: What Makes Herpes Flare Up
Myth #: You Can’t Get Herpes If You’re Not Sexually Active
Herpes can be passed from skin-to-skin contact that isn’t sexual in nature, Hawkins tells me. “If you look at the leotards that wrestlers wear, if you have upper thigh genital herpes in an area thats low enough that it shows under the leotard, someone can get it, too,” Hawkins tells me.
With that said, Hawkins tells me you don’t need to worry about getting it from trying on a swimsuit or sharing a towel, because the virus doesn’t live outside of the body for long. “Now if youre trying on bathing suits without any underwear underneath, there are plenty of wonderful infections that you can get even if herpes is not one of them,” she says. “People are still strongly advised to make sure theyre using proper hygienic options.”
Genital Herpes And Pregnancy
Women with herpes before pregnancy can usually expect to have a healthy baby and a vaginal delivery.
If you have genital herpes during pregnancy, there’s a risk your baby could develop a serious illness called neonatal herpes.
This can be fatal, but most babies recover with antiviral treatment.
The risk of your baby getting neonatal herpes is low if you have had genital herpes before.
It’s higher if you get genital herpes for the first time in pregnancy.
Don’t Miss: Can You Have Sex If You Have Herpes
When Should I Go And Get Tested
- If you or your partner have been sexually active with other people, both of you should get tested before you have sex together.
- If your partner is having sex with another partner.
- If you know your current or past partner has or had an STI.
- If the condom breaks or you have sex without one.
- If you or your partner have shared needles for drugs, tattooing or piercing, even once.
- If you or your partner have any STI symptoms.
Text box 25
If you and your partner both get tested and don’t have STI, you’re only protected as long as you remain in a relationship with this same partner. When in doubt, talk to your partner about safer sex and testing, and use a condom and/or dental dam.
Heres Why Doctors Dont Usually Test For Herpes
Its basically a SELF mantra at this point: Getting tested for sexually transmitted infections is hella important. Is it the most delightful way to spend your time? No. Is it a vital part of looking after your health, sexual and otherwise? Absolutely.
When you go in for routine STI testing, you might realize that your doctor doesnt test you for herpes. Whats that about? As it turns out, testing for herpes isnt as straightforward as testing for something like chlamydia or gonorrhea. Here, doctors explain why herpes isnt usually included on STI panels.
Also Check: Why Does Herpes Cause Blisters
Pubic Lice And Scabies
What is it?
Pubic lice are also known as “crabs” because the lice resemble tiny crabs. They’re usually found around the genitals in the pubic hair. You can get pubic lice from having close contact with someone who has it. Lice can be clear to darker brown in colour. They live by feeding on human blood and lay their eggs at the base of the pubic hair. Their eggs are called nits and can stay alive for up to 10 days.
Scabies are tiny bugs or mites that burrow below the surface of the skin and lay eggs. They’re not visible to the naked eye.
How do you get it?
Pubic lice and scabies are passed on from one person to another through sexual and non-sexual contact. An example of non-sexual contact is sharing towels or sheets with a person who has pubic lice or scabies. Pubic lice and scabies can live on objects such as clothing, towels, bedding and mattresses for 1 to 2 days if they fall off their host.
How can you tell if you have it?
If you have pubic lice or scabies, you will feel itchy and may have a rash. For pubic lice, you might see tiny light brown insects or oval, whitish eggs on the hair. Bites can cause a rash or small bluish spots on your skin. For scabies, itching occurs mainly at night and a rash may appear between your fingers, on your wrists, abdomen, ankles, on the bend of your elbows or around your genitals.
How do you get tested?
Text box 22
How is it treated?
Because lice and scabies can live on clothing, towels, bedding and mattresses, you need to: