How To Treat Herpes
When managing herpes, respond quickly. People generally can feel early on when an outbreak is going to occurthey feel a tingling or sometimes an aching sensation, and a little tiny start of a blister, Dr. Brayer says. If you treat it right away you can sometimes block it from coming.
When you first sense a herpes outbreak, immediately:
- Take aspirin. Its an anti-inflammatory and will lessen the virus, she says.
- Apply ice to the area for 10 to 15 minutes to slow the virus and lessen pain.
- Start an antiviral medication. If youve had several outbreaks, ask your doctor for specific prescription meds that you should keep on hand, Dr. Brayer says. If you catch an outbreak early enough, sometimes you can take just one pill and it will stop.
What Is A Herpes Outbreak
A herpes outbreak happens when lesions called blisters or sores start to form on your genitals, bottom or mouth. If you have oral sex, you can also get oral herpes in the mouth. Your first outbreak of genital herpes will generally last longer with more severe symptoms, such as a fever or muscle aches.
Recurrent infections happen because the virus stays dormant in your body. Once triggered, the virus reactivates which leads to an outbreak. Triggers for recurrent infections can include being stressed, being on your period or feeling run down.
You might have an outbreak of herpes a long time after youve had unprotected sex. The virus can stay in your body and not cause symptoms straight away.
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Tl dr What You Should Know About Oral Herpes
Oral herpes is most commonly caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 , but can less commonly be caused by a different strain called HSV-2. HSV-2 is the most common cause of genital herpes.
The primary symptom of oral herpes is cold sores, though an initial infection of the virus can cause fever and other, more severe symptoms.
Oral herpes is spread by intimate and sexual contact with someone who is infected. It is typically transmitted by kissing, sharing drinking vessels or eating utensils, towels, razors or makeup. Oral herpes can also occur if an uninfected person performs oral sex on an individual who has an active genital herpes infection .
Oral herpes is incurable, but breakouts generally resolve themselves without treatment.
Antiviral treatments are available that can lessen the severity and duration of herpes flare-ups.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- What is the best treatment for me?
- What happens if I dont treat a cold sore?
- 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 lookout for signs of complications?
Sex When Both Partners Are Hsv Positive
As long as the relationship is monogamous, both partners have the same type of herpes infection , and both partners are free of other sexually transmitted infections, its not necessary to use barrier methods like condoms or dental dams. Friction can aggravate herpes sores and slow healing, so you may want to avoid getting it on when one of you has an outbreak for comfort reasons. On a related note, some folks with herpes actually seek a partner who has the same strain of herpes, that way theres no risk of passing on the virus.
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What Is Hsv And How Does It Spread
In most cases, herpes blisters heal without long-term scarring. The recurrence rate is about 33% for people with oral herpes and 50% for those with genital herpes. More facts about HSV include the following:
- HSV spreads by skin-to-skin contact with a rash and can be sexually transmitted . It can also spread by sharing sex toys.
- Women with active genital herpes can pass on the infection to their babies while giving birth.
- It is highly contagious between the time when symptoms first appear and blisters or sores completely heal.
- Both oral and genital herpes can spread even in the absence of sores. This is called asymptomatic shedding. It is extremely important to be aware of this because there is about a 10% chance you can get herpes infection from a person who is asymptomatic yet shedding the virus.
- People who have active herpes can start dating and engaging in sexual contact once they have been treated and recovered , but it is important that they are honest with their partners.
- Using condoms may reduce the risk of herpes transmission but will not eliminate the risk completely.
What If A Partner Has Herpes
In a new relationship there is always risk. Usually this risk is emotional. When a partner has herpes, there is additional risk that you could get it, too. You may have concerns about risking infection for a relationship that may not last. Youll want to understand how to lower the risk for infection and ways to talk with your partner. Remember, if you have been sexually active you may already have been at risk for herpes.
You may have it and not know it. Because herpes can be spread without symptoms it can be hard to know when a person became infected and who infected them. In fact, if you and your partner have had sex, its possible your partner got herpes from you.
In an intimate, sexual relationship with a person who has herpes, the risk of contracting the infection will never be zero. Some couples have sexual relationships for years without transmitting herpes just by avoiding sexual contact during outbreaks, using condoms regularly and using suppressive antiviral therapy to reduce outbreaks.
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Can I Date People Without Herpes If I Am Positive
Yes, you can date people who dont have herpes if you have a positive diagnosis. There are absolutely going to be people who are not comfortable with it, and that is okay. A lot of your success will depend on how you approach the situations, how transparent and communicative you are, and the types of singles youre looking for. Well get into all of that and how to do it better later on in this guide.
Can I Date With Herpes
The answer is a resounding yes! There are no reasons you should feel like your romantic life is over just because you have herpes. Whether or not you want to or can date people who dont have herpes is going to be something for you to decide, and it is something we will address directly further on in this guide.
The bottom line takeaway from here, though, is that you can 100% date with herpes.
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The Right Person Wont Reject You
The truth is, some people will reject you when they find out you have herpes. To quote a herpes support forum poster, dating with herpes can be stressful. However, if you do these things, then being diagnosed with herpes is not the end of the world:
- Talk about your diagnosis early
- Have information handy so that you can talk honestly about the actual risks and concerns of the disease
- Be willing to do what you can to reduce the chance you will spread herpes to your partner
Numerous people with genital and oral herpes are open about disclosing their condition. Most of them have active, happy dating and sexual lives. The truth is, its so hard to meet the right person that dating with herpes makes it only the tiniest bit harder. Life after herpes doesnt mean life without love.
What Happens If I Dont Receive Treatment
Genital herpes can cause painful genital sores and can be severe in people with suppressed immune systems.
If you touch your sores or fluids from the sores, you may transfer herpes to another body part like your eyes. Do not touch the sores or fluids to avoid spreading herpes to another part of your body. If you do touch the sores or fluids, quickly wash your hands thoroughly to help avoid spreading the infection.
If you are pregnant, there can be problems for you and your unborn fetus, or newborn baby. See Im pregnant. How could genital herpes affect my baby? for information about this.
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How Will A Partner React
Some may overreact. Some wont bat an eye. Since many people have genital herpes or have heard about it, many people wont be shocked or surprised. From the stories that weve heard at the Herpes Resource Center, most people will react well, and will appreciate your honesty and respect for the relationship and their wellbeing. While a negative reaction is possible, this doesnt necessarily mean a bad ending. If that person values you as an individual and is interested in a relationship, something as minor as herpes shouldnt stand in the way. If it does, then that person obviously wasnt a good fit in the first place.
Whatever happens, try to be flexible. Give your partner time to respond, think about what youve said and absorb the information. Remember when you first found out? It took you time to adjust, too.
You dont have to be overly concerned about protecting a partners feelings. And, you may want to reconsider a relationship where you have to do all the emotional work. A safer sex discussion might help you find out if this partner is a good candidate for your love and attention.
A few people are going to react negatively. It wont matter what you say or how you say it. Remember, these people are the exception not the rule. If a partner decides not to pursue a relationship with you because you have herpes, it is best to know this now. There are many people who will be attracted to you for who you arewith or without herpes.
Myth: Herpes Can Be Transmitted Through The Blood
Herpes cannot be transmitted through the blood, though it can be detected through a blood test.
In fact, people with a history of herpes simplex virus type 1 or 2 can safely donate blood as long as:
- All lesions and infected cold sores are dry and healed
- They wait at least 48 hours after finishing a round of antiviral treatment
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Openly Talking With Your Partner About The Condition
Letting your partner know about herpes condition is one of the best ways to stay safe. This will allow them to understand your needs and feelings. They will also learn about your condition and help you if you feel low because of it. Please share all the details about your issue and then know what they are feeling about it.
Can You Have Herpes And Not Know It
Yes, it is possible to have herpes and not know it.
Some people may have an asymptomatic infection, which means they do not experience any symptoms. Others have symptoms that are mild, go unnoticed, or mistaken for another skin issue. Because of this, theyâre less likely to seek out a diagnosis to confirm herpes.
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Is There A Cure For Herpes Simplex
There is no cure for herpes simplex. Once you have the virus, its a lifelong infection.
What is the outlook for people with herpes simplex?
For many people, the first herpes outbreak is the most severe. Many outbreaks are less frequent and milder after the first year of infection. Some people may have only one outbreak and never have another again.
What Are Signs And Symptoms Of Herpes
There are two types of HSV:
Symptoms develop 2-20 days after the initial exposure to HSV. Initial signs may include:
- Itching, burning, pain, or tingling around the mouth or genitals
- Sores or blisters around the mouth or genitals
Other signs and symptoms may include:
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Is Dating With Herpes Hard
The truth about dating with herpes is that it will be somewhat different than dating is for someone without a positive diagnosis. Does this mean that its harder? Not really it just means that its different. You may have to have a few more awkward conversations and you may run into people who arent interested in dating.
However, other than that, it should be business as usual in the romantic department. As long as you dont let your diagnosis control your mind and overtake your life, youll be just fine.
In other words, heres the bottom line. Is dating with herpes harder than dating without herpes? To a degree, yes. Does this mean that dating with herpes is hard? No, it doesnt have to be if you approach it properly and dont let it consume you.
How To Have Sex With Someone With Herpes
This article was co-authored by Carrie Noriega, MD. Dr. Noriega is a Board Certified Obstetrician & Gynecologist and medical writer in Colorado. She specializes in womens health, rheumatology, pulmonology, infectious disease, and gastroenterology. She received her MD from the Creighton School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska and completed her residency at the University of Missouri – Kansas City in 2005.There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 103,202 times.
Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection common in the United States. It causes sores, blisters, itching, and irritation on the genitals. There is no cure for genital herpes, which is why people worry about the virus spreading. There are things you can do to reduce your risk of contracting the virus if your partner has genital herpes. Keep in mind, however, there is no 100% foolproof way to keep the virus from spreading.
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When Your Partner Has Herpes
What do you do if its not you with herpes but your partner? Hearing the news may throw you for a bit of a loop. If youre worried or upset, thats understandable. However, try not to take it out on the person who told you. Being open and honest about a herpes diagnosis isnt an easy thing to do.
Its quite possible youve already dated people who had the virus. You may already have it yourself. The majority of people with herpes have no idea they are infected.
Its your choice whether you want to keep dating someone after learning of their herpes diagnosis. Dating someone who knows theyre infected, at least gives you the option of intentionally managing your risk.
Could I Get Genital Herpes
Anyone who is sexually active, including people who experience sexual violence, can get genital herpes.
Genital herpes can also be passed on:
- when a person with a herpes virus infection in their mouth or throat gives oral sex to another person
- when a person gives oral sex to a person who has a herpes virus infection on their genitals
- through sharing sex toys or during a hand job or fingering if infected fluids get onto the toy or hand
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How Effective Is Suppressive Therapy
Studies have proven that continuous suppressive antiviral therapy for herpes can dramatically reduce the frequency of herpes outbreaks or prevent them all together and reduces the risk of transmission by 50%.
For example, a very large study found that people who had an average of over 12 herpes occurrences a year, could reduce the frequency of their herpes outbreaks to less than two a year after one year of continuous suppressive therapy.
The study also showed that if recurrences do occur during suppressive therapy, they are usually less severe and shorter lasting.
I didnt want to take any drugs, so I tried natural therapies. These didnt work. I now take aciclovir 400mg twice a day and have not had any outbreaks since. If your outbreaks are frequent, I really recommend it. MK
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How Does Genital Herpes Affect Pregnancy
Herpes simplex virus doesnt affect fertility or your ability to conceive. Pregnant women diagnosed with HSV-2 should start a daily antiviral at 36 weeks of pregnancy as prescribed, to prevent outbreaks during delivery. If you have an active infection at the time of childbirth, you can pass the herpes virus to your baby. Neonatal herpes puts a baby at risk for blindness, brain damage, skin infections and death. Your healthcare provider will perform a cesarean section to lower this risk.
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How Will My Healthcare Provider Know If I Have Genital Herpes
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.