Friday, November 25, 2022

How To Check For Genital Herpes At Home

Can I Still Have Sex If I Have Herpes

Oral Herpes and Genital Herpes. Symptoms and Treatment. Herpes Simplex Virus

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 Much Do At

Most insurance companies do not cover herpes testing, either at-home or in-person. At-home tests cost an average of around $120 to $130, although some companies offer a discount for people who subscribe to regular testing. If your insurance does cover herpes testing, consider using one of the companies that bill insurance. This may be able to reduce your cost significantly. In some instances, you may be able to get reimbursed by your insurance company for testing.

Things You Can Do To Help

Antivirals are only designed to stop the virus multiplying and will not help your discomfort in the short term. For this, there are a few simple things you can do to ease the discomfort and speed up the healing process:

  • Apply an ice pack or ice cubes in a plastic bag
  • Take a cool shower to soothe the blisters
  • Apply a local, over-the-counter anaesthetic cream such as lidocaine
  • Gently bathe the area with warm salt water
  • Carefully pat the area dry
  • If weeing is painful, go to the toilet in a warm bath or shower
  • Wash your hands before and after touching the infected area to avoid introducing bacteria
  • Keep hydrated and drink extra fluids
  • Wear loose, cotton clothing
  • Use an over-the-counter painkiller to help with pain and discomfort

Avoid washing your genitals too often when you have an outbreak, as this wont help to alleviate the symptoms.

The antivirals are safe to use with hormonal contraception but talk to the person prescribing the treatment to make sure.

Genital herpes can be safely treated during pregnancy. It is important to discuss with your midwife if you have, or have had, herpes infections. The treatment you receive may depend on whether it is your first herpes infection and also where in the pregnancy you are but your midwife will advise you.

WARNING

It is strongly advised that you do not have any sexual contact before or during an outbreak and for a week after your symptoms have completely gone.

  • Talking to people about STIs
  • STIs and Stigma

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Can Herpes Be Treated

If your symptoms are already cleared, you may not need any medication. You will however need to learn more about how to manage your condition if an outbreak happens in the future.

There are several antiviral medications you can take to manage or prevent outbreaks. Antiviral medication can shorten outbreaks by several days. Some can also suppress the virus, reducing the risk of spread to partners.

Treatment options for herpes are:

You can also apply a pain relief or numbing cream to the affected area. Local anaesthetic creams like Lidocaine can be used for such relief.

Other ways to manage herpes outbreaks are to:

  • apply petroleum jelly as a barrier to skin contact
  • apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel to help numb and soothe painful sores
  • take a cool shower to soothe pain and irritation
  • avoid frequent washing and drying of the affected area
  • wear loose fitting clothes
  • take mild over the counter pain relievers if needed
  • drink plenty of water for better skin health

When talking to your doctor, you will be asked to tell any previous partners so they can get tested. Your doctor or nurse may help you tell them anonymously if you prefer.

Best For Quick Results: Stdcheck

Herpes Home Test

STDcheck offers tests for both HSV-1 and HSV-2. A person can order an HSV-2 test for $45, or they can order a test for both HSV-1 and HSV-2 for $79. There is also an option to order a test package that tests for 10 different STIs.

This option is best for people who need their results quickly.

Collection method

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What Is Neonatal Herpes

Neonatal herpes can be a very serious infection. Babies generally contract the virus from their birthing parent during childbirth even if the parent doesnt have active lesions. They may also get HSV-1 if an adult with an active cold sore kisses them. Breastfeeding babies can also get HSV-1 from the breast if there are lesions present. But babies cant get herpes from breast milk, so its safe to pump and feed.

Herpes simplex can be more dangerous for young babies because they dont have a fully developed immune system. But most babies with neonatal herpes can recover fully with treatment.

The dangers of neonatal herpes are much higher if the infection spreads to the babys organs. If youre pregnant and have herpes, speak with your healthcare provider about how to lower the risk of passing the infection to your baby.

Which Symptoms Mean I Should Get Checked

Get tested for herpes if you have:

  • an outbreak of blisters, sores or lesions around the genital area
  • pain around the genital area
  • pain or discomfort when urinating

As soon as you begin to see blisters around your genitals, you can try home testing or visit a clinic. Do this before the blisters begin to scab over and heal for the most accurate results. If you have no symptoms or suspect a false negative result, a blood test can be done. This will only show if you have ever been exposed to HSV and if you may have outbreaks in the future.

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Choose The Right Moment

Its good to initiate this conversation when you and your partner are alone and free from distractions. There may not be a perfect time, but some moments are better than others. Avoid times when other major conflicts or stressors are occurring.

Once youre alone and comfortable, broach the subject with your partner. Stay focused and use the following techniques to help you share the information clearly and succinctly.

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Are Std Tests Accurate

Herpes (oral & genital) – causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology

Most modern STD tests are very accurate. Still, test accuracy varies depending on the type of sample collected and the test detection method.

Traditional in-office tests are more accurate than online-only tests, and home-to-lab tests are more accurate than self-collected ones. But both are highly efficient.

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How Do I Know If I Should Get Tested

If youre sexually active or engaging in activities that have the potential to increase your risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease, like sharing needles, you should get tested.

In fact, according to the , getting tested for STDs is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health.

Is That Spot A Pimple Or A Cold Sore

Acne is the most common skin condition in teens and young adults in the United States, and its increasingly common among women in their thirties, forties, and fifties. It can cause a range of blemishes variously known as blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules , cysts, and nodules, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Acne is sometimes confused with oral herpes because of the way a breakout looks. Although oral herpes sores usually appear as small, clear blisters filled with fluid, in some instances they can look more like the reddened skin and pimples associated with acne. However, herpes is typically associated with more itchiness and pain than acne.

And whereas oral herpes sores are usually found on the mouth, lips, chin, cheeks, or nose, acne can break out on any area of the face as well as on the neck, chest, back, and shoulders.

Acne is caused by excess skin oil, clogged pores, and bacteria not the herpes virus. Hormones, stress, certain medicines, and sometimes diet can trigger or worsen acne outbreaks. While a single pimple may clear up in a few days, a larger acne outbreak may last for weeks to months.

Acne is not contagious, and topical and oral medication can help heal pimples, stop new pimples from forming, and prevent scars. To avoid scarring, dont squeeze or pop pimples.

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Are Test Results Accurate

Testing is an important step in accurately diagnosing genital and oral herpes, and there are several types of tests that may be used to establish a diagnosis. Although blood antibody testing is appropriate for some patients, its not considered the most accurate way of diagnosing a current HSV infection. Experts have several concerns about using blood testing to diagnose genital and oral herpes:

  • Accuracy of tests vary: Not all commercially available blood tests that detect antibodies to HSV have the same level of accuracy due to shared characteristics of the different types of herpesviruses. For example, persons who were infected with the chickenpox/shingles virus may have a higher risk of false positive results.
  • Not all tests describe the type of HSV: Some blood tests cannot tell the difference between antibodies to HSV-1 and antibodies to HSV-2, so they require additional laboratory testing to determine the kind of antibody detected.
  • Cant tell between genital and oral infections: Unlike tests that require a sample taken during an outbreak, blood antibody tests cannot distinguish between a genital and oral infections because either can be found at both sites, so at-home tests alone cannot diagnose genital or oral herpes.

Things To Know About Genital Herpes

Symptoms of Genital Herpes
  • Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease caused by a virus that infects genital areas.
  • Herpes simplex virus is the cause of genital herpes.
  • Genital herpes causes lesions in the form of blisters or groups of small ulcers on and around the genitals in both men and women.
  • There is no cure for genital herpes, but medications are available that can treat outbreaks, minimize the symptoms, and decrease recurrences.
  • Genital herpes is highly contagious. Carriers can transmit the disease without having any symptoms of an active infection.
  • Signs of genital herpes develop within 3-7 days after contact with an infected person.
  • Most people with genital herpes have recurring outbreaks.

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How Herpes Testing Works

For the most part, herpes presents very consistently across people and can be diagnosed on sight. However, its important to still get tested and make sure that its herpes and not something else so you can treat it correctly.

The CDC recommends only testing for herpes if you have symptoms or have been recently exposed. This is because studies have shown that testing for herpes when youre asymptomatic doesnt actually change sexual behavior: people are just as likely to engage in risky behavior like not using a condom whether or not they know they have herpes, if they dont have symptoms. If you test when you dont have symptoms and dont know if youve been exposed, itll also be harder to tell if your result is a false positive.

Most at-home herpes tests involve a combination of a finger prick blood test and either a vaginal swab or urine sample . Youll collect your sample and then mail it back to the testing company, which will run it through a partner lab. Both the blood test and swab/sample are similar in design to tests performed in-office by your doctor providing both blood and a genital sample helps to minimize the risk of getting a false result and ensuring you get results in case something happens to one of your samples.

If you go to your primary medical provider, theyll take a look at your symptoms and be able to tell you if its herpes or not. Should they not be able to tell or if youre asymptomatic despite exposure theyll order one of three tests:

How Accurate Is My Instant Herpes Test

Your Better2Know instant Herpes test is highly accurate and sensitive. If you are worried about Herpes, or are experiencing symptoms that may suggest a Herpes infection, you should get tested as soon as possible. Better2Knows private STI testing services in the UK are performed in line with the highest standards of quality and care.

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Myth #: A Blood Test Is The Best Way To Know If You Have Herpes

Blood tests are not always accurate and testing for herpes can be tricky. It can take two weeks to six months after being exposed to herpes before it is detected in the blood. To make matters more complicated, if you are low risk for herpes and asymptomatic, it increases your risk of a false positive result. Because of this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends against routine testing for herpes unless you or your partner have symptoms. The most accurate test is when you are able to take a swab sample from a new herpes lesion, but often times the diagnosis is made by a clinician based on your history and report of symptoms.

Because the blood test can be expensive and inaccurate, it is not typically included in a sexually transmitted disease evaluation unless you ask your provider for it specifically.

In short, if you dont have symptoms, you dont necessarily need a blood test. If you do experience an outbreak, a skin swab not a blood test is your best bet for confirmation.

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Is Herpes Simplex Related To Herpes Zoster

An All Natural OTC Topical Product for Genital Herpes Outbreak Symptoms

Herpes simplex and the varicella-zoster virus are related, but they arent the same. VZV causes chickenpox and shingles.

Like HSV-1 and HSV-2, shingles can cause a painful, blistering rash. The shingles rash usually shows up on the back, side, abdomen , neck and face. It is often only on half of your body, following the pattern of your nerves. See your healthcare provider if you have a new rash and suspect you may have shingles.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Herpes simplex is a virus. Once you have herpes, its a lifelong condition. A herpes infection can lead to outbreaks , but youll also have times when you have no symptoms. The main sign of herpes is sores that appear on the infected skin. Some people choose not to treat herpes, especially if symptoms are mild. Others take antiviral medications to reduce the severity and frequency of outbreaks.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/17/2022.

References

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How Can You Test For Stds At Home

Our roundup of nine home STD tests is a good starting point if you want to get tested without visiting a doctor.

Depending on the test, you may need to visit a lab in person for collection. Every other part of the process, including lab order, payment, and results, is done online.

If you receive a positive test result, the testing kit company may offer a consultation with one of their physicians about the next steps, such as further testing or treatment.

At this point, its also a good idea to contact your primary care doctor to share your results.

What Affects The Test

Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:

  • If a culture sample is taken from a crusted, older sore.
  • If a blood sample is taken before antibodies against HSV have formed. This period is called the window period or seroconversion period.
  • If you are taking antiviral medicines, such as acyclovir, famciclovir, ganciclovir, or valacyclovir.

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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.

Best Sti Panel Test For Herpes: Everlywell

Genital Herpes Symptoms, Risk Factors &  Treatments

Everlywell offers STI test panels for males and females. This test may be most suitable for people who want to test for a wide range of STIs.

Collection method

Once a person has purchased a test, they must register it on Everlywells website. They then need to post the collected samples with prepaid shipping.

Everlywell states that people can receive their test results within 57 of posting the samples. However, several customer reviews on the companys website say they had to wait up to 2 weeks.

The person receives digital and printable results. If they test positive for any STIs, they can connect with Everlywells network of independent physicians for advice and treatment.

This test costs $149. However, people can subscribe for twice-yearly tests and save money per kit. They can also use their FSA or HSA to pay for this test.

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