Is It Safe To Breastfeed If I Have Genital Herpes
Yes- as long as there is no open lesion on chest or breast . If you have an active outbreak while breastfeeding, its possible to spread the infection to your nipples through touch. Careful hand-washing can prevent this spread. You shouldnt nurse from a breast that has herpes sores. You can pump breast milk until the sores heal. Dont give your baby expressed breast milk if the pump comes into contact with an open sore.
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.
You Can Only Get Genital Herpes If Your Partner Has An Active Infection With Sores Right Wrong
A person can be exposed to the virus and pass it to someone else without ever having symptoms. It happens more often than youd think. Thats because the virus can exist in genital fluids even without any ulcers. This is called asymptomatic shedding of virus. Although there is a lot more active virus when there are sores, asymptomatic shedding is probably how most people get herpes. Whats more, only one out of four people who tests positive for genital herpes actually knows that they have the virus. Thats a lot of people. Combine the two and you have many people unknowingly infecting others.
As with the couple above, many people who learn they have genital herpes are shocked. They tell me that they didnt see any sores on their partner or that their partner had never ever had any ulcers, ever . This is common and true, because people can have genital herpes and not know it.
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Treating Herpes With Medication
While there isn’t a cure for herpes, there are medications that can help keep symptoms at bay, so you can live your best life without worrying about having a flare-up.
Pilot offers two treatment options for herpes â one is suppressive therapy that involves a daily or proactive medication, which reduces the chances of future outbreaks and minimises the risk of passing it on to a partner. In fact, this medication reduces recurrences by 80 per cent and reduces transmission risk by around 50 per cent.
The second option is outbreak therapy, to treat current flare-ups when they occur. Taken at the first sign, a one-off course of antibiotics shortens the duration of an outbreak, offers fast relief and lessens the severity of symptoms.
Simply complete Pilot’s text-based questionnaire and a local doctor will create a personalised treatment plan based on your individual circumstances, which will then be discreetly delivered to your door.
Living with herpes might feel limiting but thanks to modern medicine, there are ways to treat outbreaks and keep symptoms to a minimum while also reducing the chance of passing the virus onto a partner, so you can continue to have a thriving sex life.
Oral Sex And Herpes: A Triple Header
An incredible woman, who I’ve been seeing for a few weeks, has just informed me she has genital herpes. I really like her and am going to continue seeing her. Although it is not an issue right now, as we get closer and more intimate I am concerned about our sexual relations. I know that wearing a condom will prevent the transmission of herpes, but how can I prevent the transmission if I perform oral sex on her? I enjoy giving oral sex and would like to know how I can do this with her. Please help.
My partner and I are desperately seeking information regarding safe sex and herpes. HELP!!! First, we want to know if oral sex is a possibility. Second, can we rub up against each other when no sores are present???
My boyfriend has genital herpes â I do not. We are currently practicing safe sex, but would like to know what risks are involved in having sex without a condom when no episode is present, and if oral sex without a condom is a possibility and what the risks are. Please help us!
Dear Need Info, Desperate, and Safe, but curious,
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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.
How Can I Find Out If I Have Genital Herpes
Go to your doctor and get tested. A doctor may take a sample from what appears to be a genital herpes sore and send it to a lab for testing.
You can also get a blood test. The blood test looks for antibodies to the virus that your immune system would have made if you were infected. The second type of herpes simplex virus, HSV-2, almost always infects the genitals, so if a test shows antibodies to HSV-2 in your blood, you probably have genital herpes. A blood test that shows antibodies to the other type of herpes virus, HSV-1, means you could have genital or oral herpes. Thats because oral herpes, which is usually caused by HSV-1, can spread to the genitals during oral sex.
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Before You Think About Sex Focus On Treating Your Herpes
While herpes doesnt need to limit your sexual or romantic life in the long term, its best to take a break from sexual activity once you first find out that youre infected.
Most people with an active herpes infection find out about their status during the initial outbreak of the virus. Initial herpes outbreaks usually happen two to three weeks after you become infected with the virus, but may not appear until weeks, months or even years after initial exposure.
During an initial outbreak, the virus undergoes a replication process in your body, taking over cells and spreading at a rapid pace.
Genital herpes eventually spreads to the spinal ganglia, where it stays as a dormant virus in the body. Oral herpes settles in the ganglia behind the cheek bone. It usually takes two to three weeks for herpes to set up camp in your body before an initial outbreak.
During an initial outbreak, youll notice a variety of symptoms, from flu-like fatigue and muscular aching to a fever. The most obvious sign of a herpes infection is the development of sores on the lips or on the genitals, groin, legs and buttocks.
Our guide to the signs and symptoms of a genital herpes outbreak goes into more detail about the symptoms youll notice during an initial outbreak. It also includes symptoms that are shared with the oral form of the virus, making it a useful resource for either type of infection.
Focus on treating the outbreak once its healed, you can refocus on your sex life.
How Is Genital Herpes Spread
- Saliva from a partner with an oral herpes infection
- Genital fluids from a partner with a genital herpes infection
- Skin in the oral area of a partner with oral herpes or
- Skin in the genital area of a partner with genital herpes.
You also can get genital herpes from a sex partner who does not have a visible sore or is unaware of their infection. It is also possible to get genital herpes if you receive oral sex from a partner with oral herpes.
You will not get herpes from toilet seats, bedding, or swimming pools. You also will not get it from touching objects, such as silverware, soap, or towels.
If you have more questions about herpes, consider discussing your concerns with a healthcare provider.
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How To Have A Healthy Sex Life With Herpes
A healthy sex life with herpes can be a reality with honesty, good communication, and knowing how to manage and prevent spreading the infection to your sexual partners.
Healthcare providers and public health experts have outlined ways to have safer sex and prevent the spread of herpes with various treatment options.
What Are The Symptoms Of Herpes
Alright, so you think you have an ingrown hair or maybe a rogue pimple. While many people wont notice symptoms for a long time , there are a few common signs that could indicate you have herpes.
In the case of genital herpes, the most common symptoms include:
Burning when you pee
Difficulty urinating due to sores and swelling blocking your urethra
Itching and general pain near your genitals
For those with genital herpes caused by HSV-2 , you might also encounter flu-like symptoms as well, which include:
Swelling in your pelvis, throat and underarms
Aches, pains and fatigue
The first time you encounter these blisters is known as your first episode and symptoms can last for around two to four weeks. But even once the blisters ease, further outbreaks are incredibly common.
In the days or weeks leading up to an outbreak you might notice common symptoms such as itching, burning or tingling around your genitals. The good news? Subsequent outbreaks tend to be shorter and less painful than the first episode.
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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.
Keep It In Perspective
First and foremost, its important to keep in mind the relative importance of all this. If you were asked to describe yourself and highlight the most important aspects of you and your life, herpes wouldnt make the list. Its something you deal with, but it doesnt define who you are as a person.
In the grand scheme of things, genital herpes is an inconvenience for most couplesnothing more than that. Keep this fact in mind and keep your language positive. Your attitude will also have a lot of influence on how the news is received. If you are positive and upbeat, its more likely your partner will adopt the same attitude. Try not to let the anticipation of a possible negative reaction affect the delivery of your message.
Remember too that this should not be treated as a confession or some kind of admission that you have done something wrong. It is what it isa sexually transmitted infection. The bottom line is that sexual activity is a natural act that most everyone will have at some point in their lives. With sexual activity anywhere by anyone, there is some level of risk.
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How To Prevent Spreading Herpes To Your Partner
If you have genital herpes and your partner doesnt, you can spread the virus that causes it to your partner during sex. For this reason, dermatologists recommend the following:
Tell your partner you have genital herpes
Explain that there is a risk that you can give your partner the virus that causes genital herpes. Be sure your partner knows that the following can reduce this risk:
Skipping sex when you have sores. To avoid giving your partner genital herpes, its recommended that you skip all sexual contact while you have sores and for one or two days after the sores clear. If your partners skin or genitals touches a herpes sore, your partner can easily catch the virus.
Using a condom when youre free of sores. Even when you dont have sores, its possible to spread the virus to your partner. When the virus isnt active, it travels from your skin to nearby nerve cells.A trigger can wake up this virus at any time. Common triggers include stress, illness, and surgery. If the virus wakes up, it travels back to your skin .Sometimes, when the virus wakes up, you wont have any sores or symptoms. During these times, you wont even know that the virus is on your skin . Its during these times that you can spread it to your partner. Condoms help reduce this risk.
Even when taking an antiviral every day, a condom must be used every time you have sex.
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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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.
What Do I Need To Know About Having Sex Especially If Im Having An Outbreak
Most health experts recommend avoiding sex from the moment that you feel an outbreak coming on until about a week after your symptoms fade, if youre at all worried about transmitting to a partner or about contracting another STI. Typically, when youre symptomatic, youre shedding more virus than usualand your open sores or subtle inflammation mean that its easier for another infection to make its way into your system.
If Im having an outbreak, I dont feel sexy just because of the true physical discomfort, said Pierce. Like many other people with symptomatic genital herpes, she chooses to avoid all sexual contact during flare-ups.
But as Warren, the nurse practitioner and herpes expert, stressed: People have a right to do whatever they want to do, based on their informed consent and comfort. Theres no rule saying people with genital herpes cant have any form of sexual contact during an outbreak.
My symptoms may be uncomfortable, but they dont always take away my horniness, said Lily. During flare-ups, she avoids penetration, instead opting for mutual masturbation and external toy use. Other people said that they still give oral or manual stimulation to partners, even if they dont feel up to stimulation for themselves. Others just cuddle and spend time together to maintain a sense of intimacy.
* Last name has been omitted by request for reasons of privacy.
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