How Is Herpes Treated
Herpes cannot be cured, but it can be managed. Medications are available that can prevent or shorten the duration of herpes outbreaks. There is a medicine that you can take on a daily basis that can help prevent outbreaks and also lower your risk of spreading the virus to others. Talk to your healthcare provider about your options. Antiviral medications such as acyclovir, famciclovir and valacyclovir can suppress outbreaks and shorten the duration of symptoms and active shedding of virus.
Do Regular Sti Tests Include Herpes
No. If you dont have symptoms, STI testing includes gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV and syphilis, and only involves time with a medical assistant. The Centers for Disease Control does not recommend herpes testing for people without symptoms.
If you think youve been exposed to herpes, but you arent showing symptoms, make sure to tell your health care provider prior to getting tested. At Planned Parenthood, herpes testing requires a visit with the nurse practitioner.
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.
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Whens The Right Time To Get Tested For Stds
STDs have different incubation periods. People react differently to STDs, with some people able to produce antibodies as early as a few days after exposure. To get reliable results, youll want to get tested after these incubation periods:
- chlamydia : 7 to 21 days
- gonorrhea : 1 to 14 days
- syphilis: 3 weeks to 20 years
- hepatitis A: 15 to 50 days
- hepatitis B: 60 to 150 days
- hepatitis C: 2 to 26 weeks
- oral herpes: 2 to 12 days
- genital herpes: 2 to 12 days
- HPV: 1 month to 10 years
trichomoniasis: 5 to 28 days
Herpes Tests & Diagnosis
Depending on where you are in the stage of exposure or infection, your medical provider may perform an examination or run tests to provide an accurate diagnosis.
- Physical examination: If you have active sores, your doctor may examine them to determine if they appear like HSV-1 or HSV-2 sores.
- Fluid sample: If you have active sores, your medical provider may swab a sore and send the fluid to the laboratory for testing, which can confirm that it is caused by either HSV-1 or HSV-2.
- Blood tests: If you do not have any active sores or other specific physical signs of herpes simplex, your doctor can order blood tests to identify viral antibodies to confirm a diagnosis.
If you are diagnosed with HSV-1 or HSV-2, your doctor may be able to prescribe antiviral medication to shorten an active outbreak or help alleviate symptoms.
They may also recommend over-the-counter antiviral creams or other products to provide pain relief.
Some medications, when taken orally or applied topically, can prevent outbreaks if used at the first sign of a sore, such as the initial feelings of tingling that precede the formation of a sore.
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Is There Anything Else I Should Know
Herpes can make people more susceptible to HIV infection. The skin lesions give other sexually transmitted diseases , including HIV, openings for entering the body. Likewise, it can make HIV-infected individuals more infectious. Infection with HSV can also increase HIV viral load. HSV-2 infection is a significant opportunistic infection in HIV-infected individuals due to immune system deficiencies up to 90% of HIV-infected individuals are co-infected with HSV-2.
How Long Does It Take For Symptoms Of Herpes To Appear
The primary symptom of a herpes outbreak is sores that resemble blisters, called herpes lesions, on the mouth or genitals.
In addition, people may also experience the following symptoms prior to the outbreak:
- pain and redness, especially around the area the outbreak will occur
- itching and tingling, primarily in the outbreak area
- flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue, fever, or swollen lymph nodes
Most of the symptoms that occur before an outbreak indicate that the virus is replicating. Symptoms are usually the worst during the first herpes outbreak.
According to the
Some people with the herpes virus are asymptomatic, which means that they dont experience any physical symptoms of the disease. This doesnt mean that they cant spread the disease, however.
Anyone who has the herpes virus, whether symptomatic or not, can spread the virus to others.
If you have the herpes virus and your body has produced antibodies, it can be detected on a blood test, even if you have no symptoms. The only time the virus might not be detected on a test is if youve been tested too early.
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Blood Test For Herpes Hsv
Still, it is important totest for herpes HSV-2 regardless of whether or not you notice any symptoms. Not all infections show physical signs. However, despite a lack of symptoms, you can still have the infection and can still spread it to your partners. To be absolutely sure of your health, test for herpes HSV-2 from the comfort of your home.
- Order your testing kit
- Collect a sample using the easy-to-follow instructions.
- Send the sample off for testing.
- Receive your lab-certified results online in just days.
Thats right, all that is standing in the way of you and your peace of mind are the four simple steps above.
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- What is the best treatment for me?
- 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 look out for signs of complications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Millions of people are living with the herpes virus that causes genital herpes. Its a common STI. You shouldnt be embarrassed or put off seeking medical care if you develop symptoms. Treatments can ease symptoms, reduce outbreaks and protect sexual partners from infection. Having the virus shouldnt affect your relationships or sexual health. However, you do need to tell your sexual partners that you have the virus. Your healthcare provider can discuss ways to prevent spreading this STI.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/23/2020.
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What If I Test Positive For Herpes
Since the virus stays in the nerves surrounding the infected area permanently, there is no cure to eliminate the virus from the body. However, there are many treatments which are very effective at reducing both the severity and frequency of any outbreaks.
Creams and medications are available to manage the symptoms and keep outbreaks under control. If you test positive for Herpes, your Better2Know doctor will be able to prescribe the right treatment for you. You are most likely to pass the virus on when you have symptoms, so you should abstain or practice safe sex with a condom during this time.
There are also organisations who can support you such as The STI Project which provides an online forum for people to share their stories.
Is There A Cure Or Treatment For Herpes
There is no cure for herpes. Antiviral medications can, however, prevent or shorten outbreaks during the period of time the person takes the medication.11 In addition, daily suppressive therapy for herpes can reduce the likelihood of transmission to partners.11
There is currently no commercially available vaccine that is protective against genital herpes infection. Candidate vaccines are in clinical trials.
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What You Need To Know
- Fifty percent to 80 percent of U.S. adults have oral herpes.
- Oral herpes can be spread through intimate contact with someone who is infected.
- Oral herpes can be difficult to diagnose. Often confused with many other infections, it can only be confirmed with a virus culture called PCR, blood test or biopsy. PCR is the preferred test for diagnosing herpes infections.
- The best treatment for oral herpes is antiviral oral medication. Symptomatic treatment may include antiviral ointment, over-the-counter topical anesthetics or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents.
Whether you call it a cold sore or a fever blister, oral herpes is a common infection of the mouth area that is caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 . Fifty percent to 80 percent of U.S. adults have oral herpes. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 90 percent of adults have been exposed to the virus by age 50.
Once infected, a person will have herpes simplex virus for the rest of his or her life. When inactive, the virus lies dormant in a group of nerve cells. While some people never develop any symptoms from the virus, others will have periodic outbreaks of infections.
How Does The Test Work
The genital herpes home test kit conveniently allows you to detect genital herpes without the need to visit your doctor or a sexual health clinic.
Ordering a test kit from Superdrug Online Doctor is easy just follow these simple steps:
- Your test kit will be delivered to an address of your choice
- Follow the instructions in the included leaflet to collect the sample
- Place the sample in the prepaid and addressed envelope and send it to our lab
- Your results will arrive within 2 to 3 days of the sample arriving at the lab
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Herpes Testing: Types Accuracy Timing And Necessity
In this section, weÃ¢ll give you information about herpes testing.
Testing is what ultimately establishes or rule out a diagnosis of herpes. All the other weÃ¢ve talked aboutÃ¢what you feel, what you see, and your odds of getting itÃ¢help us with the diagnosis, but theyÃ¢ve canÃ¢t establish it or confirm it.
This section will summarize the different types of herpes tests, their accuracy, how theyÃ¢re interpreted, and when theyÃ¢re necessary. Tables with important statistics will be followed by FAQ answered by Ã¢Dr. F,Ã¢ an STD expert.
So, if you want to know all about herpes testing, this chapter is for you!
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.
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When Is It Ordered
HSV PCR testing or herpes culture may be ordered when you have signs and symptoms of a herpes infection, such as a blister or blisters on or around your eye, mouth, genitals or rectum.
Herpes PCR testing may be ordered when you have signs and symptoms of encephalitis that a healthcare practitioner suspects may be caused by a virus. Examples of these signs and symptoms include:
Prenatal and newborn testing
- A pregnant woman who has been diagnosed with herpes may be monitored regularly prior to delivery to detect a reactivation of her infection.
- A baby born to a mother who has active lesions during delivery may be tested before symptoms appear to assess whether the baby was exposed to HSV during delivery.
- A mother and newborn may be tested for HSV soon after delivery when a baby shows signs of HSV infection, such as meningitis or skin lesions that could be caused by the herpes virus.
HSV antibody testing may be done when your healthcare practitioner wants to determine if you have been exposed to HSV in the past.
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Benefits And Downsides Of At
To decide if at-home genital and oral herpes testing is right for you, its important to remember that this form of testing has both benefits and downsides.
Benefits of at-home genital and oral herpes testing include:
- Transparent pricing: Costs can add up quickly when patients have testing performed in a doctors office or other medical facility. At-home testing offers transparent pricing that allows patients to rest assured that they understand the total price of genital and oral herpes testing.
- Privacy: At-home testing is private and convenient. Patients can order an at-home genital and oral herpes test kit when they want without having to make an appointment at a medical office or clinic.
- Easy to use: Testing for antibodies to HSV at home is a straightforward and simple process: order your test kit online, collect a small sample of blood from a simple finger prick using supplies contained in the test kit, and return your sample to the laboratory. Unlike testing performed by a doctor, theres no waiting room or blood draw from your arm.
The downsides of at-home genital and oral herpes testing include:
As you consider the benefits and downsides of at-home genital and oral herpes testing, it may be helpful to talk with a doctor or other health professional about testing for HSV in your specific case. It is especially important to talk with a doctor if you have active symptoms of a herpes infection.
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Safer Sex Still Carries Std Risk
Its also worth noting that concerns about STD incubation periods arent restricted to individuals who practice unprotected sex. Although practicing safer sex and other measures that reduce your risk, like using mouthwash, can drastically reduce your stress levels and your level of risk, it isnt foolproof protection.
Condoms and other barriers can only reduce the risk of diseases that spread skin-to-skin instead of by bodily fluidsthey cant entirely prevent them. Thats why its a good idea to talk about testing and sources of risk before you have sex.
Precautions And Prevention Of Herpes
It is not possible to prevent all exposure to herpes simplex.
The virus is common, and is not always transmitted via sexual contact.
Many people who have HSV-1 do not even know they were exposed. It is possible to get exposed in childhood and never have active outbreaks.
It is possible to practice safe sexual hygiene and prevent the transmission of genital herpes.
You can minimize this risk by:
- Avoiding sexual contact, kissing, or any type of contact with active sores from someone who is having a current outbreak
- Using condoms and dental dams during all types of sexual contact
- Not sharing utensils and cosmetics with someone who has an active herpes outbreak
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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 .
How Soon After Unprotected Sex Can I Test For Herpes
Herpes has an incubation period of 2 to 12 days for initial infections. This means it can take 12 days for it to show on a test. The symptoms can appear quickly after exposure. This leaves a short window of time within which to do a swab test. Blood tests can however be accurate even months after exposure. You can wait either until symptoms appear or allow the incubation period to end before performing a blood test after unprotected sex.
If you test positive for herpes, it will be a lifelong condition. This applies to both HPV 1 and HPV 2. There is no need to retest if confirmed positive. Simply manage the symptoms as they come.
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The Health Risks Of Genital Herpes
Pain and discomfort are the main health effects of genital herpes, but the virus can also cause emotional and social problems for those infected. Although it cannot be cured, genital herpes can be managed with antiviral medication that may help control the recurrences. On rare occasions, genital herpes may cause serious complications such as blindness and inflammation of the brain.
Genital herpes can sometimes be passed from an infected mother to her child during pregnancy or birth. The infection can be life-threatening to the child or result in skin lesions or brain damage. Antiviral medication and a cesarean delivery can reduce the risk of infecting the child.
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