Wednesday, April 17, 2024

How To Live With Herpes Type 1

There’s Not One Right Way To Tell Partners About Your Status And It Might Not Go As Planned

Herpes Simplex 1 & 2: Symptoms, Transmission and Treatment

My herpes status is public, so a formal disclosure isn’t always necessary with new partners. But it wasn’t always that way.

Right after I was diagnosed, I remember feeling the urgent need to tell my then-partner that I had not only tested positive for herpes, but that I suspected that it originated from him.

I sent the cliché, We need to talk in person,” text. He talked around it and said he was busy, and my urgency quickly became palpable. He initially suspected that I was pregnant, but was surprisingly empathetic when he learned the reality of the situation.

As much as we try to plan disclosure, it might unfold in ways you arent prepared for or didnt predict. While in-person disclosures may work for some, these situations might present safety issues for others. Texting is also a viable option. My only caution in sharing an STI status via text message or dating app, like anything we share or post online, is that these conversations can be captured in a screenshot, shared, and misrepresented.

Still, disclosing digitally can ease anxiety for some, and resources can be linked within the text for partners to do their own research on having sex with a herpes-positive person.

Telling A Sexual Partner

Whether or not to tell a partner you have herpes when you are symptom-free is a point of controversy – for many people, the potential stigma is a greater cause of distress than coping with the physical symptoms.

Most sexual health clinics will advise you to tell your partner. When doing so, offer reassurance that you will inform them immediately if you experience signs of an impending outbreak, and that it is highly unlikely the virus will be transmitted unless you have visible blisters. It is also worth pointing out that as you’re aware you have herpes, you can take precautions and are far less likely to pass it on than someone undiagnosed who has mild symptoms and doesn’t know they have it!

O’Mahony comments: “People susceptible to facial cold sores don’t feel they have to tell everyone they kiss that they had one six months ago it’s just that there’s more stigma around genital herpes, which we need to deflate.”

Your Survival Guide To Dating With Herpes

Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP

Dating with herpes can be a challenging experience. While the virus is very common , finding out that you have herpes can have a significant effect on your self-esteem and interest in meeting new people.

If youve recently found out that you have herpes, or recently found out you might be considering dating someone with HSV-1 or HSV-2, its vital that you stay positive. With the right combination of medication, conversation and understanding, its still very possible to form and maintain normal romantic relationships.

In this guide, well cover the essentials of dating with herpes, from coming to terms with the fact that you have the virus to disclosing herpes to your partner, educating them about the virus and reducing your risk of transmission.

For the most part, well focus on genital herpes , rather than oral herpes. However, the information provided below is relevant regardless of your herpes infection type.

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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.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hsv

Beginning Stages of Herpes in the Mouth

Most commonly, HSV-1 causes sores around the mouth and lipsoften called cold sores or fever blisters. HSV-1 can cause genital herpes, but most cases of genital herpes are caused by HSV-2. Typically, someone with HSV-2 will have sores around the genitals or rectum.

Symptoms are usually the most intense during the first outbreak and become less intense over time. Symptoms can last 2-4 weeks before resolving on their own without medicine, and even longer during the initial infection.

Some of the symptoms associated with HSV include itching, tingling or burning sensation, tiredness, swollen lymph nodes and flu-like symptoms, but many with HSV may have no symptoms at all.

While there are some tell-tale signs of HSV, not everyone may show visible signs or symptoms, resulting in them unknowingly transmitting it to a partner via contact, Dr. Gelow said. Unfortunately, there are no studies that show how often this happens, but we do know that the virus sheds 10-20% of the time in those who are asymptomatic.

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How Can I Prevent Hsv From Spreading

HSV is highly contagious. To help prevent it from spreading to others:

  • Keep drinking cups and utensils as well as towels and washcloths separate from those used by other family members and wash them well after use.
  • Dont kiss others and abstain from sex during the most infectious time, which is when any tingling or burning is felt in the infected area up until the sores have completely resolved.
  • Wash your hands well and often and avoid touching your face and eyes.
  • The consistent and correct use of condoms can help prevent the spread, but HSV can still spread from areas not covered by a condom.

Learn How Herpes Spreads

Learning how herpes spreads can provide some insight into how you contracted it and how you can avoid spreading it to other people. While HSV primarily spreads through sexual contact, a person can also get it by touching affected skin, saliva, or herpes sores. You can contract oral herpes by kissing someone with an open sore, for example.

Itâs important to remember that a person can still spread HSV even if they arenât experiencing any symptoms. Fortunately, the herpes virus quickly dies if it is away from the body, so you wonât contract it from touching objects or surfaces. If you have any questions about how herpes spreads, consider discussing the risks with a medical professional.

Recommended Reading: Causes Of Herpes Flare Ups

How Can I Prevent Genital Herpes

If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting genital herpes:

  • Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who does not have herpes.
  • Using condoms the right way every time you have sex.

Be aware that not all herpes sores occur in areas that a condom can cover. Also, the skin can release the virus from areas that do not have a visible herpes sore. For these reasons, condoms may not fully protect you from getting herpes.

If your sex partner has/have genital herpes, you can lower your risk of getting it if:

  • Your partner takes an anti-herpes medicine every day. This is something your partner should discuss with his or her healthcare provider.

Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1

The Truth About Herpes!

One of the most popular sexually transmitted disease is the Herpes Simplex Virus. Herpes virus is classified into two types, HSV-1 and HSV-2. This article is about Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 . HSV-1 is a highly transmissible disease and infected 67% of the population in the world. HSV-1 infects parts of the body above the waist and is most commonly found around the mouth orally. Statistics show the significance of this virus, which states that around 3.7 million people under 50 have HSV-1 disease as of 2016. Most people get exposure to HSV-1 by the ages of 1-5, as it can also pass from one person to another genetically.

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Is It Safe To Breastfeed If I Have Genital Herpes

Yes as long as there isnt an open lesion on your 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 Do I Know If I Have Genital Herpes

Most people with genital herpes have no symptoms or have very mild symptoms. Mild symptoms may go unnoticed or be mistaken for other skin conditions like a pimple or ingrown hair. Because of this, most people do not know they have a herpes infection.

Herpes sores usually appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals, rectum or mouth. This is known as having an outbreak. The blisters break and leave painful sores that may take a week or more to heal. Flu-like symptoms also may occur during the first outbreak.

People who experience an initial outbreak of herpes can have repeated outbreaks, especially if they have HSV-2. However, repeat outbreaks are usually shorter and less severe than the first outbreak. Although genital herpes is a lifelong infection, the number of outbreaks may decrease over time.

Ask a healthcare provider to examine you if:

  • You notice any symptoms or
  • Your partner has an STD or symptoms of an STD.

STD symptoms can include an unusual sore, a smelly genital discharge, burning when peeing, or bleeding between periods .

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Follow Easy Hygiene Best Practices

Several hygiene best practices serve as easy preventative measures to avoid accidentally spreading the virus to your partner.

  • Keep the infected area clean and dry
  • Avoid touching sores
  • Wash your hands immediately after any possible contact with sores
  • DON’T pick at sores since this will cause infection
  • DON’T make choices that you know can trigger an outbreak

Get Tested For Other Possible Stis

Chinese Herbal Herpes Treatment

If you are sexually active, you should ask your doctor about testing options for other STIs like chlamydia, syphilis, HIV, and HPV. Many STIs can be asymptomatic, and early detection can reduce the risk of spreading them or developing symptoms later on.

The CDC lists the following STI screening recommendations for sexually active adults:

  • Everyone ages 13 to 64 should get tested at least once for HIV.
  • Anyone who has sex with new or multiple male partners should get tested once a year for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea.
  • Everyone who is pregnant should get tested for syphilis, HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C early in their pregnancy.
  • People with new or multiple sex partners should get tested for HIV at least once a year.

If youâre unsure about which STI tests you need or when you should get them, you can ask your doctor for advice. They can make recommendations based on your sexual history and provide additional information on different types of STI tests.

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What Happens At A Sexual Health Clinic

The doctor or nurse at the sexual health clinic will:

  • ask about your symptoms and your sexual partners
  • use a small cotton bud to take some fluid from 1 of your blisters or sores for testing

The test cannot:

  • be done if you do not have visible blisters or sores
  • tell you how long you have had herpes or who you got it from

Symptoms might not appear for weeks or even years after you’re infected with the herpes virus.

Your Dating Life Is Not Over

If youve recently found out that you have genital herpes, its easy to assume that your dating life is over.

This is a normal, common reaction. Finding out you have a sexually transmitted infection isnt an enjoyable experience, and its completely normal to assume that catching herpes will mean the end of your sexual and romantic life.

The reality, however, is that genital herpes isnt as big of a deal as you think.

First, genital herpes doesnt affect everyone the same way. Many people with genital HSV-1 or HSV-2 have are asymptomatic, or exhibit very mild symptoms that are either mistaken for other skin conditions or go completely unnoticed. Other people only occasionally deal with outbreaks, and some people can get several outbreaks a year.

Our guide to what you can expect from your herpes outbreak frequency goes through every question you might have about it.

Second, even if you do experience herpes outbreaks, try to remember that theyre temporary. Herpes outbreaks can happen frequently or infrequently, depending on the type of virus you have, your immune system and other factors every person is different.

However, the physical symptoms of a herpes outbreak dont stick around for long. Usually, your body will repel the virus and heal within two to three weeks, giving you months in between each outbreak for you to enjoy a normal dating life.

For more information on this, we have a guide to When is it Safe to Kiss Someone After a Cold Sore?

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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.

Take Care Of Your Health

Herpes Simplex, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

If living with herpes will teach you anything, its to pay attention to your body, and thats a great thing. In fact, if you didnt tune into your body and its needs before, its almost kind of a wake-up call. Learning how to manage your diet, exercise, and overall balance will not only lessen your herpes symptoms but improve your mood, sleep, sex, other health issues, and overall satisfaction in life. This could jumpstart you to learn more about safe sex, responsible relationships, nutrition, and health.

Some things you might tune into when managing herpes include which foods to avoid or keep balanced, like limiting your intake of high-arginine foods in favor of ones rich in lysine. This is known to reduce herpes outbreaks. It also helps to be conscious of getting enough sleep and managing stress, and we all need more than that. Stress is the number one outbreak trigger for many people learning how to live with herpes. So relax, get rest, meditate, do yoga, go for a head-clearing bike ride whatever you need.

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Try Not To Rush Into Anything And Attempt To Keep Your Feelings To The Barest Minimum

In a case whereby you meet a girl or a guy, and they appear to be meant for you. You have developed a strong interest and love, and so they are too. Just put away your feelings and let them know about your diagnosis. In case they decide to leave, then, they are apparently not meant for you. Put yourself together and try once more, someday, you will eventually succeed.

What Happens If Herpes Is Not Treated

Herpes can be painful, but it generally does not cause serious health problems like other STDs can.

Without treatment, you might continue to have regular outbreaks, or they could only happen rarely. Some people naturally stop getting outbreaks after a while. Herpes typically does not get worse over time.

The information on this page is adapted from the CDC and Planned Parenthood.

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How Is Herpes Simplex Diagnosed

Healthcare providers may diagnose herpes simplex based on how the sores look. Your provider may take a sample from the sore. Laboratory analysis of the sample can confirm or rule out the herpes virus.

If you dont have sores, your healthcare provider can use a blood test to check for HSV-1 and HSV-2 antibody, a marker showing youve been exposed to the virus. The blood test doesnt show an active infection . But it informs your provider whether youve been exposed to the herpes virus in the past. If this is your first infection, you may not test positive for herpes if there hasnt been enough time for your body to develop antibodies. The HSV-1and HSV-2 antibody test may be repeated in eight to 12 weeks.

Who Might Get Herpes Simplex

Living with Herpes: Diagnosis, Management, and Dating Advice

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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