Treatment For Genital Herpes
There are three antiviral medications that are FDA-approved for the treatment of genital herpes:
- Acyclovir: The oldest antiviral medication for herpes is acyclovir. It has been available since 1982 in a topical form and sold since 1985 in pill form. Acyclovir has been shown to be safe in persons who have used it continuously for as long as 10 years.
- Valacyclovir: A newer drug, valacyclovir, actually uses acyclovir as its active ingredient. This medication delivers acyclovir more efficiently so that the body absorbs much of the drug, which has the advantage of taking the medication fewer times during the day.
- Famciclovir: Famciclovir uses penciclovir as its active ingredient to stop HSV from replicating. Like valacyclovir, it is well absorbed, persists for a longer time in the body, and can be taken less frequently than acyclovir.
Antiviral medication is commonly prescribed for patients having a first episode of genital herpes, but they can be used for recurrent episodes as well. There are two kinds of treatment regimens: episodic therapy and suppressive therapy.
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I Tested Positive For Herpes What Should I Do Now
For most people, having herpes does not affect their health or quality of life. To prevent passing on cold sores and genital herpes to others, a person can:
- avoid kissing others when the virus is active
- use condoms when having sex
- avoid skin-to-skin contact during an active outbreak
- avoid sharing towels, toothbrushes, and lipstick when they have sores around the mouth
- wash their hands well after touching a sore
Having multiple sexual partners can increase the risk of
transmitting STIs such as herpes. People can decrease this risk by openly discussing STI status and prevention with any partners and practicing safe sex.
Genital Herpes And Pregnancy
Women with herpes before pregnancy can usually expect to have a healthy baby and a vaginal delivery.
If you have genital herpes during pregnancy, there’s a risk your baby could develop a serious illness called neonatal herpes.
This can be fatal, but most babies recover with antiviral treatment.
The risk of your baby getting neonatal herpes is low if you have had genital herpes before.
It’s higher if you get genital herpes for the first time in pregnancy.
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Case #1 A Person Who Didnt Know They Had It Passed It To Their Partner
A 25-year-old woman named Julia came to the office with a genital skin rash that she had never had before. A herpes swab test came back positive for herpes .
She confronted her boyfriend, Tony, whom sheâd been dating for nine months.
Tony is a young professional who denied having sex outside of his current relationship with Julia. He also said the following:
- Heâs been fully tested for STDs after each relationship ended .
- He hasnât ever had herpes symptoms.
We gave Tony the HSV-2 test , and it came back positive for herpes.
Dr. Fâs Explanation
- Itâs very common for people to have herpes and not know about it. Only 20% of herpes-positive people have symptoms. Most people are asymptomatic for life.
- You donât need to have a herpes outbreak to pass the infection. It can be passed through silent herpes shedding. This means that James could have passed it to Julia without having symptoms.
- When people get âfully testedâ for STDs, the testing might not include a herpes test. The CDC doesnât recommend routine herpes testing. And Jamesâs past test results didnât show that herpes testing was performed.
Can Herpes Be Prevented Or Avoided
The best way to prevent getting herpes is to not have sex with anyone who has the virus. It can be spread even when the person who has it isnt showing any symptoms. If your partner has herpes, there is no way of knowing for sure that you wont get it.
There is no time that is completely safe to have sex and not spread herpes. If you have herpes, you must tell your sex partner. You should avoid having sex if you have any sores. Herpes can spread from one person to another very easily when sores are present.
You should use condoms every time you have sex. They can help reduce the risk of spreading herpes. But its still possible to spread or get herpes if youre using a condom.
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You Can Get Tested For Herpes Today
You can order tests online and then go to a lab near you for same-day testing with no uncomfortable questions asked at all, and with nothing showing up on you or your familys insurance.
- Same-Day Lab Tests: Since were an affiliate of STDcheck, you can use this link to have our coupon automatically applied.
- Mail-In Test Kit: Nowadays, services like myLAB box will even send you a kit to test yourself at home. Pick one of their test kits here.
Never attempt to diagnose yourself. Even a visual exam for herpes by a doctor is often wrong. These days, professionals prefer to confirm everything with lab tests.
How To Prevent The Spread Of Herpes
Although herpes is a lifelong virus that cant be cured, it goes through periods of dormancy between outbreaks. This means that while the virus is still present, its not actively replicating.
During this time, you may not experience any signs or symptoms of having the disease even if youve had a previous outbreak before.
However, you can still spread the herpes virus to your sexual partners at any time, even if no sores are present. In addition, although rare, its possible to spread oral herpes to the genital region and vice versa.
For this reason, its extremely important to be mindful of the following preventive measures:
- Tell your partners that you have genital or oral herpes. This allows them to make informed decisions about their own sexual health, and its the responsible thing to do.
- If youre experiencing the signs and symptoms of an upcoming outbreak, avoid all sexual contact. Youre most likely to spread the virus to others during an outbreak.
- Its possible to spread the herpes virus even without an outbreak. If youre worried about spreading the disease to a partner, research shows that antivirals are effective at reducing this possibility.
Having oral or genital herpes doesnt mean that you can no longer have sex. However, its your responsibility to prevent the spread of herpes to your sexual partner.
If you have herpes, you can still take care of your sexual health through open communication and safer sex.
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How Do People Get Genital Herpes
People can get infected with genital herpes when the virus comes into contact with a break in the skin in or around the mouth or genital area. This can happen when:
- They receive oral sex from a partner who has oral herpes .
- They touch a herpes sore and then touch their own genitals.
- Their genitals touch the skin in the genital area of someone who is infected .
Genital herpes can spread even if there are no sores because the virus is still in the body. The virus can be in the skin near the genitals and infect another person during sexual contact.
How Long Should You Wait To Test
The amount of time between contact with herpes and getting tested can affect your results. The accuracy of the test depends on the amount of antibodies youve built up, which takes time. The antibodies present in your blood will need to be above a certain level to be definitive.
When is a herpes test most accurate? A herpes test is most reliable three months after infection.
See the article: When Should I Get Tested for STDs for details.
Early on after being infected, you have a low number of antibodies. This is measured as a volume index. Generally, 1.1 is the lowest number for a passable diagnosis, but it not high enough to be firmly convinced. It might be wrong, or require further testing in the future. Anything above 3.5 is considered a highly reliable positive result.
With that in mind, its probably best to wait three months after being exposed to get a blood test. However, you can start testing as soon as 4-6 weeks after exposure.
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How Neonatal Herpes Is Spread
In about 90% of cases, neonatal herpes is transmitted when an infant comes into contact with HSV- 1 or 2 in the birth canal during delivery. There is a high risk of transmission if the mother has an active outbreak, because the likelihood of viral shedding during an outbreak is high. There is also a small risk of transmission from asymptomatic shedding .
Fortunately, babies of mothers with long-standing herpes infections have a natural protection against the virus. Herpes antibodies in the mothers blood cross the placenta to the fetus. These antibodies help protect the baby from acquiring infection during birth, even if there is some virus in the birth canal. Thats the major reason that mothers with recurrent genital herpes rarely transmit herpes to their babies during delivery. Even women who acquire genital herpes during the first two trimesters of pregnancy are usually able to supply sufficient antibody to help protect the fetus.
Babies born prematurely may be at a slightly increased risk, however, even if the mother has a long-standing infection. This is because the transfer of maternal antibodies to the fetus begins at about 28 weeks of pregnancy and continues until birth. Babies delivered at term should be protected by antibodies but premature babies havent gotten a full load, explains Brown.
Finally, about 5%-8% of babies who contract neonatal herpes are infected after birth, often when they are kissed by an adult who has an active infection of oral herpes .
When To See A Doctor
People should see their doctor if they think they might have herpes, or if they have any symptoms of herpes. Getting tested for herpes is also important to rule out other sexually transmitted infections.
People can visit their doctor or a sexual health clinic for a test. If people have any sores or blisters present, a healthcare provider will use a swab to take a sample from the sores. The sample will indicate whether or not the sores are due to a herpes infection.
Some people may be concerned that they have the herpes virus but no symptoms. In such cases, a doctor might be able to order a blood test to check for the virus in a persons blood. However, the
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Put The Diagnosis In Perspective
Couple it with the data they need to put it in perspective. Tell them the herpes statistics, what herpes is, and perhaps relate a little about how it affects you personally.
For example: Are you one of the lucky ones who has never had an outbreak? Or do you now have symptoms only rarely, or even never, after managing or stopping your outbreaks? What if you only have outbreaks somewhere unusual, like your lower back ? Even if you do have frequent outbreaks, do you take care to know the signs one is coming on and take care of your health in general? Then by all means, include this more flattering information!
Not Such a Huge Deal: Heres a way to put it in perspective: You could mention that there are several types of herpes viruses: chicken pox, cold sores, genital herpes, and shingles. They might realize that its stigmatized yet not life-threatening or really even all that scary. Just about everyone gets chicken pox, and the majority contract oral herpes in their lifetime.
It Happens to the Best of Us: You dont need to tell this new person anything about how you came to contract herpes, or defend your past to them. But if you think it helps to let them know some face-saving circumstance, use your discretion and gauge your trust in this person and the intimacy level. Sometimes mentioning that its possible to contract herpes even if you always use condoms is adequate.
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How Is Genital Herpes Treated
There is no cure for genital herpes. However, it is possible to reduce the symptoms using anti-viral medicine. This is most effective when started within 72 hours of the first symptoms.
Medicines can help control outbreaks if they are frequent or severe. Anti-viral medicine can reduce the risk from passing the virus on to a sexual partner.
The symptoms can also be helped by:
- gently bathing the area with a warm salt solution
- pain medicine, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
- local anaesthetic ointment or cream
- urinating while sitting in a warm bath, if urination is painful
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They May Not Want To Date You Without Herpes
Some people prefer to date others with herpes because there is less pressure and What ifs involved. Maybe they were just hoping you had it, too. It happens more than you think. In this case, it isnt you, it is them. For real, this time. Nowadays, it is much easier to meet people with herpes thanks to the internet. They may feel that it will always be in the back of your mind or they would feel horrible if they gave it to you. So, they just choose to date others in a similar situation.
The reality of herpes is that anybody who has sex, protected or not, can get it. It doesnt matter what gender, age or profession you have. It does not discriminate. If someone you are interested in has it, hear them out and maybe give them a chance. The decision is ultimately up to you. Love isnt easy to find in todays world but they say that there is someone for everyone. That someone could have just told you, I have herpes.
Until next time, stay awesome!Team HWerks
Genital Herpes Is Common Shouldnt Cdc Recommend Testing For Everyone
CDC recommends herpes testing for people who have genital symptoms to confirm if they have it. Testing allows a healthcare provider to talk with patients about what to expect in the future. This includes talking about medications that help with symptoms. Providers can also tell patients how to lower the risk of transmitting herpes to sex partner.
CDC does not recommend herpes testing for people without symptoms in most situations. This is because of the limits of a herpes blood test and the possibility of a wrong test result. The chances of wrong test results are higher for people who are at low risk of infection.
Blood tests might be useful if:
- You have genital symptoms that could be related to herpes, or
- You have a sex partner with genital herpes, or
- Your provider found signs of herpes, but you still need a test to confirm it.
If you are sexually active, talk openly and honestly with your healthcare provider about what tests are right for you. These tips can help.
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Stage : Complete Healing
Once the scab falls offyou should let it fall off naturally to minimize scarringand the new skin covers the old blisters, the virus will move back into the dormancy phase of its infection. During this phase, the virus will continue to live in your bodyin the nerve roots in your spinal cordwithout causing any symptoms until it is once again triggered.
How a cold sore develops.
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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What Is Herpes Simplex
Herpes simplex is a virus that causes skin infections. The infection lasts your lifetime, and it causes painful or itchy sores and blisters that come and go. Herpes simplex virus typically doesnt cause severe problems. But it can be dangerous in infants and people with weakened immune systems. There are two types of herpes simplex:
- Herpes simplex 1 tends to affect your mouth or face. It causes cold sores. HSV-1 spreads through contact with saliva .
- Herpes simplex 2 is a sexually transmitted disease . It causes sores on skin that comes in contact with the genitals of an infected person.
Sometimes a herpes infection can affect other parts of your body, such as your eyes or other parts of your skin.
Why The Test Is Performed
The test is done to find out whether a person has ever been infected with oral or genital herpes. It looks for antibodies to herpes simplex virus 1 and herpes simplex virus 2 . An antibody is a substance made by the body’s immune system when it detects harmful substances such as the herpes virus. This test does not detect the virus itself.
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How Can You Prevent Cold Sores
To avoid being infected with HSV-1, you should take the following precautions around people who have cold sores:
- Avoid kissing, intimate contact and oral sex with someone who has a cold sore.
- Dont share towels, razors, dishes, cutlery, straws, lip balm or lipstick.
- Wash your hands before touching your lips, eyes or genitals.
If youve already come into contact with HSV-1, do these to reduce risk of a cold sore outbreak:
- Try to stay healthy: A fever can trigger a cold sore, which is why people sometimes call them fever blisters.
- Get enough rest: Fatigue weakens your immune system and makes you more likely to get sick.
Wear lip balm with SPF: Protecting your lips from sunburn can help you avoid an outbreak.
If you have a cold sore, be careful around babies. Always wash your hands, and do not kiss a baby until the cold sore has healed completely.
The following may reduce the risk of spreading the herpes simplex virus:
Oral herpes If you have sores on your face:
- Do not kiss anyone.
- Do not have oral sex.
- Do not share items such as silverware, cups, towels, and lip balms.
If you have tingling, burning, itching, or tenderness where you had a herpes sore, keep that area of your body away from others.
You can prevent spreading the sores to other parts of your body by:
- Washing your hands after touching a cold sore.
- Using a cotton-tip swab to apply herpes medicine to a cold sore also helps.
Genital herpes When you have sores or symptoms do not have sex with uninfected partners.