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.
Expect The First Outbreak To Be The Worst
Remember that although herpes lasts a lifetime, the first outbreak typically causes the most pain, while later outbreaks tend to be much milder.
You will always have herpes, and the sores will come and go, but you can decide not to treat the current outbreak. If its not that unpleasant or uncomfortable, some patients will do that, says Gade.
The Dangers Of Genital Herpes
Genital herpes may cause painful ulcers that can be severe and persistent in patients. Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can also cause rare but serious complications such as aseptic meningitis . Development of extragenital lesions may occur during the course of infection.
Many people who contract HSV-2 have concerns about how it will impact their overall health, sex life, and relationships. There is significant mental trauma that comes with a diagnosis of Herpes. Considerable embarrassment, shame, and stigma associated with a herpes diagnosis oftentimes severely interferes with a patients psyche.
Pregnant women face additional dangers from genital herpes, as HSV-2 can be passed on to their baby during childbirth.
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The Herpes Myth You Need To Stop Believing
This article is part of STI Truth or Lie, a series in which TheSTDProject.com founder Jenelle Marie Pierce addresses STI questions and beliefs with the facts.
“If you get herpes, you’ll know who transmitted it to you.”
Its a natural reaction when something not so great, like a herpes diagnosis, happens to you to want to trace how it happened: Who gave it to me? Could it have been avoided? Did they know they had it? Why couldnt I tell they had it? Assigning blame can be a way of discharging uncomfortable emotions such as fear, disbelief, embarrassment, shame, distrust, guilt, and even hopelessness emotions that often come alongside a herpes diagnosis. Theres an awesome TED Talk by Brené Brown that wonderfully articulates our natural tendency to assign blame. But Brown says pointing fingers can also be a way to avoid processing your emotions. The problem with blame is that it does nothing to help you move forward confidently and responsibly in response to your diagnosis.
What’s more, it doesn’t make much sense from a practical perspective, because it can be next to impossible to pinpoint exactly when and from whom you contracted the infection. The only way to know exactly who gave you herpes is if you are diagnosed right after you have manual, oral, or penetrative sex with someone for the first time ever and before you have any kind of sex with someone else.
The idea that any form of sex is 100% “safe” or risk-free just isn’ttrue
How Long Should You Wait To Test
The amount of time between contact with herpes and getting tested can affect your results. The accuracy of the test depends on the amount of antibodies youve built up, which takes time. The antibodies present in your blood will need to be above a certain level to be definitive.
When is a herpes test most accurate? A herpes test is most reliable three months after infection.
See the article: When Should I Get Tested for STDs for details.
Early on after being infected, you have a low number of antibodies. This is measured as a volume index. Generally, 1.1 is the lowest number for a passable diagnosis, but it not high enough to be firmly convinced. It might be wrong, or require further testing in the future. Anything above 3.5 is considered a highly reliable positive result.
With that in mind, its probably best to wait three months after being exposed to get a blood test. However, you can start testing as soon as 4-6 weeks after exposure.
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Can I Still Have Sex If I Have Herpes
If you have herpes, you should talk to your sex partner about their risk. Using condoms may help lower this risk but it will not get rid of the risk completely. Having sores or other symptoms of herpes can increase your risk of spreading the disease. Even if you do not have any symptoms, you can still infect your sex partners.
You may have concerns about how genital herpes will impact your health, sex life, and relationships. While herpes is not curable, it is important to know that it is manageable with medicine. Daily suppressive therapy can lower your risk of spreading the virus to others. Talk to a healthcare provider about your concerns and treatment options.
A genital herpes diagnosis may affect how you will feel about current or future sexual relationships. Knowing how to talk to sexual partners about STDs is important.
How Is Genital Herpes Treated
Herpes has no cure. But antiviral medicines can prevent or shorten outbreaks during the time you take the medicine. Also, daily suppressive therapy for herpes can lower your chance of spreading the infection to your partner.
Your doctor will either give you antiviral medicine to take right after getting outbreak symptoms or to take regularly to try to stop outbreaks from happening. Talk to your doctor about treatment options.
During outbreaks, you can take the following steps to speed healing and prevent spreading herpes to other parts of your body or to other people:
- Keep sores clean and dry.
- Try not to touch the sores.
- Wash your hands after any contact with the sores.
- Avoid all sexual contact from the time you first notice symptoms until the sores have healed.
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How To Bring Up The Topic Of An Sti
So youre calm, in neutral circumstances, and ready to break the news. Do open by letting them know that you respect them, have been enjoying your time together, and have something you want them to know, even if it might be a little awkward.
Dont say you have terrible news. And you dont have to use the blunt, I have herpes, either.
Instead, you could say something like, I test positive for antibodies for HSV-2, which is a type of herpes.
A really great tack that might be easier and less awkward is opening the conversation by asking them if they have been tested or know their STD status. This takes the focus off of you, and onto the both of you as mature adults who care about their sexual health.
This could give you insight into whether they are conscientious with their own sexual health, or give them the nudge to get tested themselves.
Precautions About Sharing Kitchenware
Youre unlikely to get herpes from sharing a drink, a straw, or a glass.
But youll want to avoid sharing objects with someone who may have another infection, such as a cold, the flu, or strep throat.
Heres how you can help protect yourself from getting an infection:
- Ask for a clean glass if you get a dirty glass at a restaurant, cafeteria, or anywhere where dishware is shared, such as at your workplace.
- Clean any surface you plan to use before preparing food in case bacteria or viruses are present.
- Dont mix chopping boards by chopping or preparing raw meat on the same board as vegetables or other foods that dont need to be cooked.
- Wash your hands immediately after handling raw meat before you touch any other surfaces or foods, especially if youre sick.
- Thoroughly clean any surface you used to prepare raw meat or other food that might be carrying bacteria or viruses.
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My Husband Gave Me Herpes
Yes, you read that title correctly.
No, neither of us are sneaking out of the window at night to go and catch some scandalous nookie on the side. Lets face it if anyone is sneaking anywhere, its off to the couch to stretch out and get a better nights sleep, less two dogs and a six year old. Aint NOBODY got time for promiscuity in this house.
So, how does a woman, who has been with her husband for 10 years, suddenly get herpesgenital herpes, to be clear? I had the same question!
In all honesty, I thought it was a hemorrhoid flare up at first. You know, those awesome bodily gifts left to us lucky ones after one too many epidural-numbed pushes during the delivery of our spawn. All three of my kiddos seemed to want to leave me with those masterpieces of eternal suffering, so I chalked my discomfort up to that last month when things were feeling extraordinarily uncomfortable down south.
But wait, that pain and discomfort started to move into my nether regions. Swelling, cuts, and lesions followed shortly thereafter, and I was then convinced that I had some kind of horrible reaction to new laundry detergent or accidental latex encounter . I started taking Allegra and Benadryl to no avail.
A night or so later, I felt like my belly and insides of my legs was covered in a rash and the pain was shooting down the nerves in my legs like lightning bolts. I had my husband check my whole body and he didnt see a single noticeable rash. SO. STRANGE.
Learn More About Dating And Sex With Herpes
Genital herpes affects hundreds of millions of people around the world, many of whom have no problems enjoying a normal, fulfilling sex life.
Our complete guide to having sex when you have herpes covers everything you need to know about sexual activity if you have genital herpes, from the most effective antiviral medications to lower your transmission risk to signs and symptoms your partner should be aware of.
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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How Do I Know If I Have Genital Herpes
Most people with genital herpes have no symptoms or have very mild symptoms. Mild symptoms may go unnoticed or be mistaken for other skin conditions like a pimple or ingrown hair. Because of this, most people do not know they have a herpes infection.
Herpes sores usually appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals, rectum or mouth. This is known as having an outbreak. The blisters break and leave painful sores that may take a week or more to heal. Flu-like symptoms also may occur during the first outbreak.
People who experience an initial outbreak of herpes can have repeated outbreaks, especially if they have HSV-2. However, repeat outbreaks are usually shorter and less severe than the first outbreak. Although genital herpes is a lifelong infection, the number of outbreaks may decrease over time.
Ask a healthcare provider to examine you if:
- You notice any symptoms or
- Your partner has an STD or symptoms of an STD.
STD symptoms can include an unusual sore, a smelly genital discharge, burning when peeing, or bleeding between periods .
Herpes Disclosure Is Necessary
Although it can seem overwhelming to do, telling partners about a genital herpes diagnosis is necessary. Although the risk can be managed, the fact remains that there is always a risk of giving it to your partner. Although herpes seems blown out of proportion in the public eye compared to what it really is, partners should still be informed.
Herpesyl is a 100% natural blend that targets and eliminates herpes virus in the body.
Positive Singles is a safe, supportive community to meet others with HSV! Dating profiles, blogs, support groups, and active discussion. Avoid the awkward herpes talk.
Fortunately, things like antiviral medication and condom use can mitigate that risk. Antivirals and condom use can bring the rate of transmission rates by 75%, according to studies done by Valtrex . And according to the CDC, 1 in every 6 Americans between 14 and 49 has genital herpes .
Those are just two research-backed talking points you can use in your discussion about a herpes diagnosis. Combine factual information like this with a calm mindset to make your talk go well, using the pointers below.
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You Cant Prove I Gave You Herpes
Under California law, anyone infected with an STD must disclose that information to partners before any sexual activity begins.
Sadly, however, those with power and influence often believe they are above the law, and decide not to disclose this vital information to sexual partners. This may result in an unexpected STD transmission and a lifetime of physical, emotional, and financial turmoil for their victims.
Below, we discuss the rights that STD transmission victims have and the tactics that the powerful often use to try to keep them silent.
Support And Advice For Genital Herpes
If you have just found out you have genital herpes, you may feel shocked and may have a lot of questions. It may help you to gather as much information as you can about herpes. This can help you to make fully informed decisions about your treatment, safe sex and preventing further recurrences. Talking to a counsellor about your concerns may also help.
Also Check: How To Relieve Herpes Outbreak
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 you’re infected with the herpes virus.
Who Is To Blame For My Herpes
We have been helping herpes-positive patients for more than 17 years.
Once a herpes diagnosis is made, itâs typically followed by embarrassment, frustration, and even anger. This article will explain why a newly diagnosed person shouldnât jump to the conclusion that infidelity by their current partner is to blame for their STD.
How herpes is transmitted from one person to another is complex.
People tend to scrutinize their life and especially their current relationship. They have a lot of questions.
- I was always careful how could I get it?
- Is my partner cheating on me?
- Who gave it to me?
Itâs outside the scope of this short article to discuss these questions in great detail, but we can explain the most common scenarios that weâve seen in our practice.
Dr. Fuzayloff will briefly explain some possibilities.
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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 Difference Between Genital Herpes And Genital Warts
Both genital herpes and genital warts are STIs, are spread through skin-to-skin contact, and are caused by a virus. But the viruses that cause genital herpes and genital warts are different:
- Herpes simplex virus is the virus that causes genital herpes.
- Human papillomavirus is the virus that causes genital warts.
There is no cure for either genital herpes or genital warts. But, different medicines can help manage the symptoms of herpes and treat the complications of HPV infections that can cause genital warts.
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Offer To Provide More Information On The Virus
Despite what some people with genital herpes think, its unlikely for a partner to reject you outright as a sexual or romantic prospect after learning that you have herpes.
Its far more likely, however, that they will have questions. Most people arent well informed on how herpes works and how it can affect them. They may not be aware of how herpes relates to sexual activity, or how traditional contraceptives like condoms arent always effective.
If your partner is curious about the virus, it is worthwhile to share some information about how often you experience outbreaks. If you have asymptomatic herpes, you can even let your partner know that you dont get the visual lesions that other people with HSV-2 might.
Do you take medication to treat your herpes? If your partner asks, let them know. Sometimes, a little transparency and comfort is all your partner is looking for, and a quick, honest answer to a curious question can help make the mood more transparent and comfortable.
With this said, there are some answers you might wish to avoid.
You are under no obligation to tell your partner how you contracted the virus. If they ask, feel free to gently let them know that its a private matter if youd prefer to keep the finer details to yourself.
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