Take Steps To Reduce Your Transmission Risk
If you have genital herpes and your partner doesnt, you can take several steps to reduce your level of viral shedding and lower your transmission risk:
Talk to your doctor about using antiviral medication like valacyclovir. Taken regularly at a suppressive therapy dose, valacyclovir greatly reduces your risk of transmitting genital herpes to other people.
Use condoms, dental dams and other barrier contraceptives. While contraceptives arent 100% effective at preventing herpes transmission, physical barriers like condoms reduce the amount of direct skin contact that occurs during sex, lowering your transmission risk.
Having an outbreak? Its best to avoid sex during herpes outbreaks, as this is when the virus is most likely to spread to other people.
Take your HSV-1 or HSV-2 transmission risk seriously. Even with the tactics listed above, theres still some risk of you transmitting herpes to your partner. Before you have sex, its important that youre both aware of and willing to accept this risk.
With the right approach, you can significantly reduce your risk of transmitting genital herpes to other people, making it easier for you to enjoy a normal sex life even after learning about your herpes status. Whether you have herpes, or whether you’re contemplating dating someone with HSV-1 or HSV-2, it is possible and you can do it if you take the right precautions and accept the small risks.
Learn How To Date With Herpes
Many of people with hepres have a lot of negative beliefs related to herpes that make it difficult to convince ourselves that others would want to be with us. It is important to recognize these beliefs and consciously change them. Accepting the fact that you have herpes will make it easier to let others into your life.
Yes, you can still date like before. But you need to feel confidence, self-respect, and honesty. Once you have come to terms with the diagnosis, it will be easier to inform and reassure potential partners about it without scaring them away. It doesnt have to be as hard as it seems.
Its up to you as to when you would tell potential partners about your condition, but do remember that it is your obligation to tell him or her about it before pursuing a sexual relationship. Informing your partner about your herpes infection could also lessen the chances that he or she might be infected with herpes.
The truth is, some people will reject you when they find out you have herpes. However, if you do above things, then being diagnosed with herpes is not the end of the world. Most of people with herpes have active, happy dating and sexual lives. The truth is, it’s so hard to meet the right person that dating with herpes makes it only the tiniest bit harder.
Know Herpes Is Very Common You Are Not Alone
Genital herpes infection is common in the U.S. Nationwide, over 24 million men and women are infected with HSV-2, the virus that causes genital herpes. 70% of cases are caused by HSV-2. The rest are caused by HSV-1, the herpes virus responsible for cold sores. And there are 776,000 new HSV-2 infections each year. And according to statistics, 42 million of them dont even know they have it. This isnt something unheard of or new. Globally, an estimated 536 million people are infected.
So many people now and before you have had to deal with herpes. It wasnt the end of the world for them, and it isnt for you either! So many people of all ages have had relationships, married, had children, and just generally continued to live normal lives with this virus.
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How To Cope With A Herpes Diagnosis
Although herpes can cause feelings of distress and isolation for those afflicted, there are many ways to cope with these negative feelings, build healthy relationships, and foster a positive self-image. The following list provides advice for those who have recently been diagnosed with herpes.
- Remember that herpes is a very common condition that affects millions of people. You are not alone in your diagnosis many others are struggling with the same emotions. Once you realize how prevalent this condition is, it will feel less alienating and you can begin to accept it.8
- Be sure to communicate with your doctor in order to come up with a treatment plan. Although herpes cannot be cured, there are medications available that can reduce the severity and frequency of outbreaks and make you less likely to pass the infection to a partner. These medical treatments can make herpes much more manageable and lessen its impact on your daily life.2
If individuals accept their diagnosis, implement an effective treatment plan, communicate with partners, and reach out for support, they will find that herpes is a manageable illness.
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How Long Do Sores From Herpes Simplex Last
If youre infected with HSV-1, commonly known as oral herpes, you may notice tingling or burning around your mouth in the days before a cold sore appears. These blisters break open and ooze fluid before forming a crust. Usually, sores last for seven to 10 days.
If youre infected with HSV-2, commonly known as genital herpes, your first outbreak may last between two to four weeks. Recurrent outbreaks usually last between three to seven days.
How Can I Best Learn To Cope With Herpes Simplex
Some people feel distressed or embarrassed about their herpes simplex infection. Its important to understand that the herpes virus is common. For most people, herpes doesnt significantly interfere with daily life.
To cope with negative feelings, you may consider:
- Connecting with others through support groups or online forums.
- Sharing your feelings with a trusted friend or loved one.
- Speaking with a therapist.
Living With Herpesyou Can Stay In Control
For a lot of women, living with herpesis not easy. Especially in our Asian society, there is a lot of social stigmasurrounding genital herpes, mainly because it is a sexually transmitted disease. People tend to assume that women with herpes are promiscuous, which issometimes not true.
They could have been infected with thedisease from just one sexual encounter with a partner who is a carrier. This isdue to the fact that not everyone with genital herpes has symptoms andunknowingly these carriers pass on the infection to their partner.
At present there is no vaccine that can curegenital herpes. Once you are infected, the herpes simplex virus stays in thebody for life manifesting as occasional outbreaks in the form of painful soresand blisters.
No doubt there are anti-viralmedications that are effective in controlling the severity and frequency of agenital herpes outbreak. But most importantly, women living with herpes should understandthat it is just like any other health condition that you have to cope with.
Do not let living with herpes be a hindrancefor you to enjoy life. You can choose to control it by learning to manage it withthe following diet and lifestyle changes.
What triggers the outbreaks
Stress both emotional and physical stress isthe main cause of frequent recurring herpes outbreak. Stress affects the bodyshormones and immune system, making us more vulnerable to infections andillness.
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Your Sex Life And Herpes
Many individuals have concerns about their sex lives. That is a perfectly normal response but having genital herpes does not mean that one can no longer have sex. It just means taking extra precautions when one is having foreplay or sexual intercourse.
It is important to educate your partner about the risks as there is still a chance that he or she may be infected even when there are no symptoms or signs of the sores.
Condoms can be ineffective if they are used during an outbreak. During a primary or recurrent outbreak, it is advised that people abstain from sex for the period. The symptomatic sores are widely recognized as being very contagious. Herpes can however still be transmitted even without contact with the sores. Herpes can also be transmitted through oral sex. Infected individuals who feel a tingling or itching symptom beneath their skin should refrain from engaging in any form of physical sex during this period as this may be indicative of an impending outbreak.
What You Need To Know
- Herpes simplex virus , also known as genital herpes, is most likely to be spread when an infected person is having an outbreak, but it can also be transmitted without any symptoms being present.
- Medications can help reduce your symptoms, speed up the healing of an outbreak and make you less contagious.
- If you know 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, cesarean section may be recommended.
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I Had Lesions When I Was Evaluated But My Culture Was Negative Does This Mean That I Dont Have Herpes
Not necessarily. Although lesions can be caused by something other than herpes, false negative herpes tests can occur if the samples are not taken appropriately, if there is a long transport time between the clinic and the laboratory, or if cultures were taken late in the course of the lesions. Lesions that occur early in the course of a herpes outbreak are much more likely to have positive cultures than cultures taken after the lesions crust over.
How To Get Rid Of Herpes The Conventional Way
For most people with herpes, the virus typically represents nothing more than an inconvenience however, the real risk is for immuno-compromised patients who cant easily manage infections. In these patients, such as those with HIV/AIDS, herpes simplex infection is associated with increased morbidity and mortality.
As of 2017, there is not currently a herpes vaccine available to prevent HSV-1 or HSV-2.
Doctors sometimes prescribe medications to help keep the herpes virus suppressed or to speed up healing of cold sores by reducing bacteria that can cause infections. Some medications that are now used to control herpes include:
- Nucleoside analogues and antiviral medications
- Creams/ointment to help lower pain and inflammation near the site of sores
- Over-the-counter painkillers to reduce aches, tenderness or fever
However, its important to understand that even with early detection and prescription medications, either form of the herpes virus cannot be totally cured so transmission is always still possible. Medications for viruses dont always work long term and are not a cure-all.
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Preventing The Spread Of Herpes
Even when you do not have sores, you can pass the virus to someone during sexual or other close contact. To protect others:
- Let any sexual partner know that you have herpes before having sex. Allow them to decide what to do.
- Use latex or polyurethane condoms, and avoid sex during symptomatic outbreaks.
- Do not kiss or have oral sex when you have a sore on the lips or inside the mouth.
- Do not share your towels, toothbrush, or lipstick. Make sure dishes and utensils you use are washed well with detergent before others use them.
- Wash your hands well with soap and water after touching a sore.
- Consider using daily antiviral medicine to limit viral shedding and reduce the risk of passing the virus to your partner.
- You may also want to consider getting your partner tested even if they have never had an outbreak. If you both have the herpes virus, there is no risk for transmission.
Mental Health Care For Herpes
After you receive treatment for your first outbreak, the next thing to do is take care of your mental health and learn how to cope with your diagnosis.
You may want to find a support group in your area for people living with herpes. Meetup hosts the following herpes support groups in Toronto and Vancouver:
Joining a support group will accomplish two things:
- Build your knowledge of what itâs like to live with herpes
- Show you that youâre not alone in your experience with herpes
If you need to speak to a counsellor about your herpes diagnosis, you can also call the Ontario Sexual Health Infoline at 1-800-668-2437.
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How To Get Rid Of Herpes Naturally
Not every person with a herpes infection actually experiences breakouts of cold sores throughout his or her lifetime or even after initially becoming infected. How often someone has a herpes cold sore outbreak, how severe the outbreaks are, how contagious someone is after infection and how long the sores take to heal all depend on someones individual immune response.
1. Boost Nutrient Intake
If youre going to keep the herpes virus from frequently causing outbreaks, the first step in how to get rid of herpes is to improve immune function by boosting nutrient intake. Include these healing foods in your diet to keep the virus dormant as much as possible:
2. Avoid Inflammatory Foods
Certain foods can raise inflammation, weaken immune defenses and make skin irritation even worse. Avoid the following foods as much as possible to limit outbreak severity and duration.
3. Consider Supplements
- Antiviral herbs: These include elderberry, calendula, echinacea, garlic, astragalus and licorice root.
- L-lysine : Can help treat and prevent outbreaks.
- Lemon balm extract: Apply as a topical cream for healing.
- Vitamin C : Vitamin C boosts immune function improving herpes.
- Zinc : Zinc benefits include supporting immune function, keeping viruses dormant and rebuilding skin tissue to speed up healing.
- B-complex : B vitamins help your body deal with stress and can prevent outbreaks.
4. Try Essential Oils
5. Ease Cold Sore Pain Naturally
Who Might Get Herpes Simplex
People of any age can contract herpes simplex. You are more likely to get the virus if you:
- Were assigned female at birth.
- Have had multiple sex partners.
- Started having sex at a young age.
- Have a history of any sexually transmitted infection .
- Have a weakened immune system.
- Dont use condoms for intercourse and dental dams for oral sex.
Who gets HSV-1, commonly known as oral herpes?
Anyone can get HSV-1. Most people contract HSV-1 during childhood. It spreads when an adult who has the virus has close contact with a child, such as when a family member kisses a child.
Who gets HSV-2, commonly known as genital herpes?
Genital herpes affects sexually active teens and adults of all genders and races. It can spread if you have multiple sexual partners and dont use condoms or dental dams.
People assigned female at birth are more at risk. Delicate vaginal tissue can tear, making it easier for the infection to get in. Black people who were AFAB are especially vulnerable, with an estimated 1 in 2 people AFAB between the ages of 14 and 49 infected with HSV-2.
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My Herpes: From Shame To Empowerment
STD Voices is an NCSD initiative aimed at empowering the voices of people living with or affected by STDs.
I have a masters degree in public health. I have provided HIV and STD prevention education to a variety of audiences. Ive advanced in my career, been acknowledged for my contributions to the field of public health, and honored as a queer woman for contributing positively to the LGBTQ+ community. I now work full time as a director at the National Coalition of STD Directors. And I have herpes.
I have counseled friends when theyve come to me with news of their herpes diagnosis. I have sat with patients after a herpes diagnosis, giving them the pep talk I would end up wishing I had received. I soothed the worries of distraught parents asking if their newly diagnosed teenage daughters clothes could be washed with everyone elses or if they could still babysit their younger cousin.
At the time of my diagnosis, my doctor did not take a sexual history, and we did not discuss how I might have acquired the virus or how I could prevent transmitting it to any future partners. There was no counseling on how to disclose my diagnosis or advice on dating after herpes. There was no concern for my mental health, or how I was digesting this news that so many find devastating. And, as the provider hurriedly left the exam room, I was left to navigate this new and unexpected reality alone.
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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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Avoid Withdrawing From Your Partner
A sudden outbreak can be disappointing, especially if you were looking forward to an intimate evening.
But its important to remember that your worth isnt tied to your diagnosis. Youre still the same person, outbreak or not.
If you dont truly believe this, your words might reflect your self-judgment, and you might end up pulling away or conveying the message you do have something to feel embarrassed about .
Instead of saying something like:
- We cant have sex tonight I understand if you dont want to come over after all.
Try something like:
- Tonights a no-go for sex, so lets cuddle up with a horror movie.
The second validates the reality that you still have a lot to offer in the way of companionship. And dont forget, a hot makeout session can be pretty sexy. Think of the tension youll build up!
Sex is an important component in many romantic relationships, but it shouldnt be the only thing keeping your relationship going.
To help your relationship thrive, practice connecting with your partner in other ways.
You might try:
- sharing goals for the future
- simply existing in the same space
Experts agree this simply isnt true. The virus doesnt live long once outside the body, so the risk of transmission is very low in these scenarios.
Soap and water kills the virus, so if you touch sores to apply medication, all you have to do is wash your hands thoroughly afterward.