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How Many People Have Genital Herpes

Genital Herpes Treatment In Pregnancy

Why Do So Many People Have Herpes?

You may be offered antiviral treatment:

  • to treat outbreaks in pregnancy
  • from 36 weeks to reduce the chance of an outbreak during birth
  • from diagnosis until the birth if you first get herpes after 28 weeks of pregnancy

Many women with genital herpes have a vaginal delivery. You may be offered a caesarean, depending on your circumstances.

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:

  • People who already had HSV-1 when they contract HSV-2 may be less likely to show symptoms right away.
  • Many people are asymptomatic carriers, which seems to be true more often with men, having no symptoms whatsoever but able to pass it on for decades.
  • Particularly for women, the first outbreak is usually the most severe and recurrences may be more common.
  • HSV-1 can be passed from the mouth to the genitals, and the outbreaks may be milder than those caused by HSV-2.
  • Some strains of the virus are less persistent than others.
  • 88% of people who have it dont realize they do.
  • Stress is a common trigger for an outbreak.

    How Can I Confirm Whether I Have Genital Herpes

    Herpes doesnt always cause symptoms, so your best bet is to make an appointment with a healthcare provider. They might be able to diagnose you just by looking at your symptoms.

    They may also take a fluid sample from a blister and test it or have you do a blood test.

    Youll likely be asked some questions about your sexual history. Its very important that youre honest in your answers. This will help to determine whether you should be tested for any other STIs while youre there.

    Remember, theres no cure for herpes. But antiviral medication can help to prevent the virus from reproducing and reduce the number of outbreaks you have. This can also reduce your risk of passing the virus to others.

    Common antiviral medications used for herpes include:

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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 Is It Spread

    Genital herpes: Diagnostic and management considerations in pregnant ...

    The herpes virus is spread by skin-to-skin contact with a person who has the herpes virus:

    • Most often, from herpes sores or blisters
    • Less often, from normal looking skin where the virusfirst entered the body
    • The herpes virus enters the body through the:
      • Lining of the mouth
      • Regular skin that has small cracks or cuts

    People with a weak immune system can get a herpesinfection more easily. A weak immune system is causedby some diseases and by somemedicines used to treat serious diseases.

    People who dont know they have herpes can still spread the virus to others.

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    Fewer Americans Are Getting Herpes

    HealthDay Reporter

    WEDNESDAY, Feb. 7, 2018 âHerpes infection rates are dropping among young Americans, and safer sex practices may be one reason why.

    Roughly 12 percent of adults were infected with genital herpes in 2015-2016, down from 18 percent in 1999-2000, a new government report found.

    The same promising trend was seen with HSV-1, a form of herpes that causes sores around the mouth and lips, sometimes called fever blisters or cold sores. Forty-eight percent of Americans had the condition in 2015-2016, a drop from 59 percent in 1999-2000.

    âThe report tells us that two of our most prevalent viruses in the U.S population, HSV-1 and HSV-2, are steadily declining,â said report author Geraldine McQuillan. She is a researcher with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventionâs National Center for Health Statistics .

    McQuillan added that other countries have seen a similar decline in the past two decades, and âimprovements in living conditions, better hygiene and less crowdingâ may explain that drop.

    Health experts suggested the findings arenât entirely unexpected.

    âThough many factors may be at play, probably the largest impact is that young people are choosing to begin to be sexually active at later timeframes,â said Dr. Matthew Hoffman.

    Hoffman was not part of the CDC study team, but serves as chair of the department of obstetrics & gynecology with the Christiana Care Health System, in Delaware.

    Genital Herpes And Pregnancy

    It is important to avoid contracting herpes during pregnancy. A first episode during pregnancy can create a greater risk of transmission to a newborn.

    Fortunately, it is rare for women with genital herpes to infect their babies. If you know that you have genital herpes before becoming pregnant, your physician will monitor your condition throughout your pregnancy. If you have an active outbreak at the time of delivery, a C-section may be recommended. Depending on individual diagnosis, though, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists endorses suppressive therapy to reduce the frequency of C-section.

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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.

    Other Types Of Herpes

    WHO claims 3.7 billion people infected with herpes virus

    Other types of herpes can infect humans in different ways. The varicella-zoster herpes virus, for example, causes chickenpox and the shingles. Vaccines are available to prevent this form of the virus altogether.

    Epstein-Barr virus , also known as human herpesvirus 4, can cause infectious mononucleosis and other illnesses.

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    People Cannot Spread Herpes Unless They Have Sores Or Blisters

    Many people have asymptomatic herpes simplex infections. Even without active cold sores or blisters, it is still possible to transmit HSV-1 or HSV-2 via saliva, semen, or vaginal secretions.

    This can happen from platonic kissing, such as from a parent to a child, or even from kissing between partners that is not open-mouth and does not involve any tongue. It is likely that most herpes infections are transmitted without signs of active infection, especially with HSV-1.

    How Common Is Herpes

    More than 50 percent of the adult population in the United States has oral herpes . Most people contract oral herpes when they are children by receiving a kiss from a friend or relative.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , about 12% persons ages 14-49 in the United States has genital HSV-2 infection however, as many as 90 percent are unaware that they have the virus. There are many reasons people do not know they have herpes .

    Anyone who is sexually active can contract genital herpes.

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    Before You Tell Them Practice

    The one person youll definitely need to have the chat with is your sexual partner/s. This is very important even if you rarely experience herpes outbreaks, as genital herpes can be spread from an infected person into an uninfected person even without any visible outbreak symptoms.

    Coming out as herpes positive can feel stressful and difficult, especially when its directed at a person you care about and with whom youd like a romantic or sexual future. Luckily, dating with herpes doesnt have to be such a big deal if you know how to address it.

    One way to get over the nervousness of telling a partner you have herpes is to practice ahead of time. Make note of the key points you want to include and practice the script a few times in front of the mirror until you feel comfortable talking about.

    What Are Signs Of Genital Herpes In Women


    Women who have the herpes virus may have nooutbreaks or signs of infection. Many do not know theyhave the virus. Once you are infected, the virus staysin your nerve cells for life. When the virus is not active,there is no sign of infection. When the virus becomesactive, a herpes outbreak occurs. Some womenmay not have any outbreaks or may have only oneoutbreak, while others may have multiple outbreaks.

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    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.

    How Common Is Herpes Herpes Statistics

    In all of the United States adult population, over 50 percent is infected with oral herpes . Most individuals contract oral herpes at the time they were still kids by accepting a kiss from an infected relative or friend.

    A study carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that about 16 percent individuals within the age range of 14 and 49 have genital HSV-2 infection in the United States however, over 90 percent are not even aware that they are infected by this disease. People are not aware of the contraction of herpes for so many reasons .

    Any individual who is fully sexually active can be infected with genital herpes. According to a recent result of the nationally representative study, genital herpes infection is usual in the United States. Across the nation, 45 million individuals whose ages are 12 and older than 12, or even one out of five of the entire adolescent as well as the adult population, have contracted HSV-2.

    From the late 1970s till date, the number of genital herpes infection among Americans has expanded to 30 percent. The prevalence of this infection is expanding most dramatically among white teens that are still young the prevalence of HSV-2 among whites within the age range of 12 and 19 years old is presently five times higher than it used to be about 20 years ago. Furthermore, young adults within the age range of 20 and 20 are presently twice as prone to have HSV-2.

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    Are Canker Sores The Same Thing As Herpes

    Cold sores and canker sores are often confused as the same thing, but theyre actually two distinct problems.

    Herpes is a contagious virus spread from one person to another. Its an incurable condition that may present outbreaks of ulcers around the mouth or genitals from time to time. Herpes sores and ulcers are filled with pus and eventually burst and cause pain and discomfort until they heal.

    Canker sores, on the other hand, are non-viral ulcers that form on the inside of the lips and cheeks. Experts estimate that 1 in 5 people are affected by recurrent canker sores. Unlike cold sores, canker sores resemble pink craters with a soft white border. Canker sores are usually minor, appearing a few times per year and lasting around one week.

    Are These The Only Herpes Viruses

    Herpes Spreads, Even Without Symptoms

    There are actually several other subtypes of herpes viruses that are from the same family as HSV-1 and HSV-2. This family is known as Herpesviridae.

    Alternatively, HSV-1 and HSV-2 are also known as human herpesvirus 1 and human herpesvirus 2 , respectively.

    The other human herpesviruses include:

    • Human herpesvirus 3 : Also known as the varicella zoster virus, this virus causes chickenpox lesions.
    • Human herpesvirus 4 : Also known as the Epstein-Barr virus, this virus causes infectious mononucleosis.
    • Human herpesvirus 5 : Also known as the cytomegalovirus, this virus causes symptoms such as fatigue and muscle aches.
    • Human herpesvirus 6 : This virus can cause a serious illness in infants known as sixth disease, which is also called roseola infantum. The virus causes a high fever and distinctive rash.
    • Human herpesvirus 7 : This virus is similar to HHV-6 and can cause some cases of roseola.
    • Human herpesvirus 8 : This virus can contribute to a serious illness known as Kaposi sarcoma, which can lead to connective tissue cancer.

    Many of these subtypes are contracted in childhood.

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    Is Genital Herpes Always So Mild

    Well, no, not always. Sometimes genital herpes can be painful or very uncomfortable so, I dont want to minimize it for those who suffer more severe symptoms. Herpes symptoms do not typically present this way, however.

    When someone has a first outbreak of herpes, symptoms can be severe and may include fever, body aches, swollen glands, a discharge , burning with urination, a painful open sore, and so on. Primary, or first outbreaks, are the worst outbreaks and they tend to get milder over time. Fortunately, a severe first outbreak presentation is not the norm. Again, most people dont even recognize their first outbreak as herpes and dont see a doctor for a test.

    For some, only one herpes outbreak is ever recognized. Others have outbreaks several times each year. People may have a handful of flare-ups over their lifetime. The frequency of herpes outbreaks is variable, but the first year of an infection can help us make a prediction about the future. When I talk with someone who has a lot of outbreaks in the first year, then that is someone who is more likely to continue to have regular outbreaks and may be a candidate for daily medication to reduce flare-ups. Those who have one infection and nothing else in that first year may go years or even decades before they have another outbreak.

    Actually, it is entirely possible to only have one outbreak and never have another.

    Theres A Cure And A Vaccination For Herpes

    Unfortunately, there is no cure or vaccination for herpes. The structure and behavior of the herpes simplex virus makes it difficult to develop an effective vaccine, though scientists continue to try.

    As much as people with herpes wish for a cure, this infection is currently a lifelong condition. But the good news is that antiviral medications and high-powered light treatment with Luminance RED can help to reduce and prevent painful outbreaks.

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    Who Is At Risk

    All people who are sexually active, including people who experience sexual violence, are at risk for genital herpes. Because HSV stays in the body for life once a person has become infected, rates of genital herpes tend to be higher among older people. The Canadian Health Measures Survey indicated that about 19% of people aged 35 to 59 years had HSV-2 infection compared to 6% of people aged 14 to 34 years. The prevalence of genital HSV-1 infection is unknown but research in Canada suggests that many genital herpes infections are HSV-1.

    Genital herpes is more common among cisgenderi women and transgenderii men than cisgender men and transgender women.¹,,

    How Will My Healthcare Provider Know If I Have Genital Herpes

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    Your healthcare provider may diagnose genital herpes by simply looking at any sores that are present. Providers can also take a sample from the sore and test it. If sores are not present, a blood test may be used to look for HSV antibodies.

    Have an honest and open talk with your healthcare provider about herpes testing and other STDs.

    Please note: A herpes blood test can help determine if you have herpes infection. It cannot tell you who gave you the infection or when you got the infection.

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