What Should I Do If I Have Genital Herpes
If you have genital herpes:
- See a doctor or nurse as soon as possible for testing and treatment.
- Take all of the medicine. Even if symptoms go away, you need to finish all of the antiviral medicine.
- Tell your sex partner so they can be tested and treated if necessary.
- Avoid any sexual contact while you are being treated for genital herpes or while you have an outbreak.
- Remember that genital herpes is a lifelong disease. Even though you may not have a genital herpes outbreak for long periods of time, you can still pass the virus to another person at any time. Talk with your doctor or nurse about how to prevent passing the virus to another person.
Is There A Cure Or Treatment For Genital Herpes
There is no cure for genital herpes. However, daily use of antiviral medicines can prevent or shorten outbreaks. Antiviral medicines also can reduce the chance of spreading it to others.
Though several clinical trials have tested vaccines against genital herpes, there is no vaccine currently available to prevent infection. One vaccine trial showed efficacy among women whose partners had HSV-2, but only among women not infected with HSV-1. Efficacy was not observed among men whose partners had HSV-2. Another trial testing the same vaccine showed some protection from genital HSV-1 infection, but none from HSV-2.
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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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.
What Is The Herpes Virus
Herpes is a virus that causes skin sores. The medical term for it is the Herpes Simplex Virus . It most commonly produces sores on the mouth or genitals.
Herpes is very common and doesnt usually cause severe health problems. However, it is very contagious and there is no cure.
There are two types of herpes: oral and genital. Oral herpes is called HSV-1, and genital herpes is called HSV-2.
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Can I Be Treated To Prevent Genital Herpes Transmission To My Partner
Yes. A large study showed that if one partner has herpes and the other partner is uninfected, treating the infected partner with suppressive therapy can prevent transmission of symptomatic herpes in over 90% of cases. This is an option for couples who are interested in having unprotected sex or who are planning to become pregnant.
If you are entering into a new relationship and are aware that you have herpes simplex infection, you owe it to your partner to notify them before having sex.
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Complications Of Oral Herpes
Theres no current cure for oral herpes . The virus remains in your system once its transmitted.
Blisters can disappear and reappear throughout your life. When you dont have visible symptoms, it means the virus is inactive, but you can still transmit it to others. Many people dont develop visible symptoms.
For the most part, oral herpes is a mild infection. Sores usually clear up on their own without treatment.
In rare cases, complications can occur. This is more likely to happen in people who have a weakened immune system, perhaps due to age or a chronic illness.
Possible complications can include dehydration if drinking becomes painful due to oral blisters. If left untreated, dehydration can lead to serious problems. This certainly isnt likely to occur. Just make sure youre drinking enough, even if its uncomfortable.
Another incredibly rare complication of oral herpes is encephalitis. This occurs when the viral infection travels to the brain and causes inflammation. Encephalitis isnt usually life-threatening. It may only cause mild flu-like symptoms.
Minor complications of oral herpes include a skin infection if the virus comes in contact with broken skin. This can occur if you have a cut or eczema. It can sometimes be a medical emergency if cold sores cover widespread areas of skin.
Children with oral herpes may develop herpes whitlow. If a child sucks their thumb, blisters can form around the finger.
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How Long Do Herpes Outbreaks Last With Medication
Depending on the health of the patient and the type of outbreaks , untreated outbreaks can last from 1 to 6 weeks. While the symptoms will heal by itself, however with the use of antiviral medications, they can significantly decrease the recovery time for a herpes outbreak in addition to decreasing the occurrence of future outbreaks.
With medication, outbreaks typically last less than a week. Daily consumption of antiviral herpes medication as a form of suppressive therapy can also aid to reduce recurring outbreaks by at least 70% to 80% per year.
Can You Pop Herpes Blisters
Like pimples, you may be tempted to pop a cold sore or a herpes blister, but by popping, you are only doing more harm. Popping a cold sore, a genital herpes blister, or a pimple increases the risk that you will worsen the existing infection, introduce a secondary infection, or irritate your skin further. Popping can also make it more likely to form a scar.
It is best to leave the pimples or blisters alone to heal on their own, but if they are too uncomfortable or painful, talk to your doctor.
Dont Risk It!
Although you can likely tell herpes sores and pimples apart just by looking at them, a medical diagnosis will let you know for sure.
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How Long Before The First Outbreak
If someone has contracted HSV but not yet experienced a herpes outbreak, truthfully theres no 100% accurate way to determine when one will occur. An outbreak can occur within a week of exposure, or years later.
First, consider that everyones body is different, as is their immune system. If a person has a strong immune system, then it can be possible for an outbreak to occur years after contracting the virus.
Whats more, some strains of HSV are more forceful and aggravating than others.
There is what is considered typical, and that is that people often have their first outbreak two weeks after contracting it. But this just isnt reliable, because its equally accepted that people can often have outbreaks after two years.
Thats why so many people will have trouble pinpointing when they got herpes at all. There are varied statistics and possibilities:
Stress is a common trigger for an outbreak.
Do You Have Hpv Virus Forever
No, in the majority of cases, you will not have HPV forever. Most cases of HPV last 1-2 years and the body generally clears the virus itself.
In 1% of women, the infection will not clear itself according to McGill.
There are two types of tests for HPV.
A HPV test
This test is conducted as well on cells from your cervix. The test recognizes the presence of high-risk forms of HPV in the DNA which can lead to genital cancers. Normally is recommended in addition to the Pap test, specially form women +30 years old.
A Pap smear
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Can Herpes Go Away Forever
While the signs and symptoms associated with both types of herpes can come and go, the virus stays in the body and there is no cure.
With that said, the treatments available can help herpes outbreaks become shorter and less frequent. There are also medications available that can lower the risk of spreading the infection to others.
One of the best ways to reduce your risk of contracting an STD is with regular screening. This can be done by taking a trip to your doctors office or from the comfort of your own home with an at-home lab test.
LetsGetCheckeds at-home Herpes Test can detect herpes simplex antibodies for either HSV-1 or HSV-2. Online results will be available within 5 days and our dedicated medical team will be there to offer a helping hand should you have any questions.
You should consider taking the test if:
- You become sexually active
- You have had unprotected sex
- You are experiencing symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection
- You are entering into a new sexual relationship
- You have received a notification from a previous partner that they are infected
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What Are The Signs Of Herpes In Pregnant Women
If you are pregnant and have genital herpes, there may be a risk of your baby being infected with the virus during delivery. This condition is called neonatal herpes and can be serious or fatal.
Neonatal herpes can result in damage to the central nervous system and can cause mental retardation. Only about 0.1% of babies born in the United States are infected with neonatal herpes even though about 25% to 30% of pregnant women have genital herpes.
Generally, if you are infected with herpes, your doctor will deliver your baby by cesarean section to avoid any risk to your newborn infant.
Women who have herpes before becoming pregnant are at very low risk of transmitting the herpes virus to their babies. If a woman is infected with the herpes virus after becoming pregnant, her baby faces a higher risk of contracting neonatal herpes. Women who are newly infected havent had time to develop the antibodies against the virus and cannot pass them on to the baby for protection.
Talk with your OB/GYN and let them know if you have genital herpes. At the time of your delivery, ask your doctor to examine you early in labor to make sure you dont have any sores or signs of infection like pain, tingling, or itching.
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How Long Does An Oral Herpes Outbreak Last
HSV-1, also known as oral herpes is very common and affects 2 out of 3 people globally. In many cases, the virus remains dormant and you may never even know you have it.
But when an outbreak does occur it is best to know the signs and symptoms right away so you can get tested, and get treatment.
Oral herpes outbreaks come in the form of cold sores.
There are several stages of HSV-1:
Stage 1: Prodrome HSV-1 comes in contact with your skin and lips, causing reddening and a tingling sensation. After 1-2 days, the affected area may feel irritated, itchy and painful.
Stage 2: Swelling and Inflammation The affected area becomes swollen, and inflamed
Stage 3: Formation of Blisters Red, white, or clear, fluid filled blisters and/or cold sores begin to form. They last about 2 days and appear in a cluster as a single sore that is painful or sensitive to the touch.
Stage 4: Ulceration After a day or two, the sores may burst, releasing fluid and becoming more painful. This generally subsides after about a day.
Stage 5: Scabbing or Crusting As the sores begin to heal there may be crust that develops over the burst blister and forms a scab. After 2-3 days, new skin begins to form.
Stage 6: Healing The scab that formed over the blister will start to heal. Do not peel the scab off until the wound is completely healed to avoid getting a scar.
While the stages of an oral herpes outbreak vary in time the process can take several weeks.
Simple Treatments For The Relief Of Discomfort
- Wear loose underclothes, preferably cotton , to help minimise discomfort and allow healing.
- Use plain water or saline solution with cotton wool to clean and soothe the area. To make a saline solution, use 1 teaspoon of salt in 600ml of water or a handful of salt in a shallow bath.
- Don’t use scented soaps, bubble bath, etc in the area, as these may irritate it.
- Using a hairdryer on its lowest setting to dry the area may be more comfortable than using a towel.
- Pain relief medication such as paracetamol and ibuprofen may ease the pain. Check with your pharmacist or other health professional whether taking these is suitable for you.
- Ice wrapped in a face cloth or flannel and placed over the sores for 510 minutes may be soothing. Don’t apply ice directly to the sores as this can cause ice burn.
- If you find peeing painful, try applying Vaseline® to the area or sitting in a warm bath before urinating or using a pump bottle full of water and spraying water on yourself while peeing.
- You can also try applying a pain relief cream such as lignocaine cream to the painful area. This is applied 5 minutes before peeing and should be used for a maximum of 12 days.
- Drink plenty of fluids as this dilutes your pee and may help reduce stinging.
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Onset Of First Outbreak
The first outbreak of oral herpes usually develops within about one to three weeks after infection. This initial outbreak may last for up to three weeks.
With genital herpes, the first outbreak usually occurs within about two to 20 days. Similar to oral herpes, the initial outbreak may last as long as three weeks.
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Is There A Test For Genital Herpes
Yes. A doctor can take a sample from what appears to be a herpes sore and send it to a lab to be examined. You can also have a blood test. The blood test looks for antibodies to the virus that your immune system would have made when you were infected. HSV-2 almost always infects the genitals, so if antibodies to HSV-2 are detected in the blood, you probably have genital herpes.
A blood test that shows antibodies to HSV-1 means you could have genital or oral herpes. Thatâs because oral herpes, typically caused by HSV-1, can be spread to the genitals during oral sex.
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Alternative And Complementary Therapies
Although its not known for certain what triggers herpes outbreaks, they are often associated with fatigue, stress, and illness. Mind-body interventions that reduce stress, such as meditation and yoga, may therefore be helpful in reducing outbreaks.
Getting adequate sleep and following a nutritious diet are also important for maintaining a healthy immune system and helpful for managing life stresses.
Certain supplements and herbal remedies have been tried for preventing herpes outbreaks or easing the symptoms of an outbreak. To date, however, theres insufficient data to conclude that any of them is safe and effective for this use.
If you wish to try a complementary therapy for genital herpes, speak to your doctor first to make sure the product you want to try wont interfere with any medications or other therapies youre currently using.
How Does Genital Herpes Affect Pregnancy
- If you get genital herpes during pregnancy, you can spread genital herpes to your baby during delivery.
- If you had genital herpes before pregnancy, your baby is still at risk of getting herpes, but the risk is lower.
Most women with genital herpes have healthy babies. But babies who get herpes from their mother have neonatal herpes. Neonatal herpes is a serious condition that can cause problems in a newborn baby such as brain damage, eye problems, or even death.
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What Prescription Drugs Treat Cold Sores
Prescription-strength topical medications: Treatment with topical acyclovir or penciclovir will reduce healing time by approximately half a day and decrease pain associated with the lesion. Topical treatment is limited in its effectiveness because it has poor penetration to the site of replication of the virus and therefore is restricted in its healing ability. Acyclovir cream should be applied five times per day for 4 days, and penciclovir cream should be applied every two hours while awake for 4 days. A cream containing 5% acyclovir and a topical steroid called Xerese is also available.
Treatment for the first outbreak of oral herpes in an otherwise healthy person may include:
- Acyclovir, 400 mg orally three times a day for 10 days or until the lesions have crusted
- Valacyclovir, 2,000 mg orally every 12 hours for 1 day
- Famciclovir, 250 mg orally three times a day for 7-10 days
- Treatment doses for recurrent oral herpes are as follows:
- Acyclovir, 400 mg orally three times a day for 5 days: It may also be given as 800 mg orally twice a day for 5 days or 800 mg three times a day for 2 days.
- Valacyclovir, 2,000 mg orally every 12 hours for 1 day
- Famciclovir, 1,500 mg orally once
- Suppressive treatment for those with frequent outbreaks may be given for 12 months, but it may be extended if needed:
- Acyclovir, 400 mg orally twice a day
- Valacyclovir, 500 mg orally once a day
- Famciclovir, 250 mg orally twice a day
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