Where Does The Herpes Virus Live In The Body
The herpes simplex viruses are latent, meaning they can live in the body without causing symptoms. After the initial infection, the virus gets into the nerve roots and spreads to the sensory nerve ganglia, the junctions where nerves from different parts of the body come together. For the genital area, the ganglia are adjacent to the spinal cord in the lower back. For orofacial herpes , the ganglia are located behind the cheek bone.
What To Do If You’re Diagnosed With Genital Herpes
It’s OK to have a lot of feelings and questions when you’re diagnosed with herpes. But no matter how you’re feeling, try to remember that you’re not alone, and your diagnosis doesn’t define you. It’s also important to remember that you can still live a perfectly normal and happy life with herpes. According to Planned Parenthood, the best thing you can do after your diagnosis is to follow your doctor’s recommendations for treatment. That said, Planned Parenthood notes that if you’re struggling with your diagnosis, you can talk to a trusted family member, friend, or therapist to help you cope.
How Do You Get Herpes
There are two different herpes viruses: Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 and Herpes Simplex Virus type 2 .
While rare, a mother can pass genital herpes to the baby during vaginal childbirth.
Herpes is most easily transmitted when sores are open and wet, because fluid from herpes blisters easily spreads the virus. But herpes can also shed and be passed to others when there are no sores and the skin looks totally normal. Most people get herpes from someone who does not have any sores. When used consistently and correctly, condoms help protect against herpes and many other STDs.
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What Do I Need To Know About Dating With Herpes
Some people feel like their love lives are over when they find out they have herpes, but its just not true. People with herpes have romantic and sexual relationships with each other, or with partners who dont have herpes.
Talking about STDs isnt the most fun conversation youll ever have. But its super important to always tell partners if you have herpes, so you can help prevent it from spreading.
Theres no one way to talk about having an STD, but here are some tips that may help:
Keep calm and carry on. Millions of people have herpes, and plenty of them are in relationships. For most couples, herpes isnt a huge deal. Try to go into the conversation with a calm, positive attitude. Having herpes is simply a health issue it doesnt say anything about you as a person.
Make it a two-way conversation. Remember that STDs are super common, so who knows? Your partner might have herpes too. So start by asking if theyve ever been tested or had an STD before.
Know your facts. Theres a lot of misinformation about herpes out there, so read up on the facts and be prepared to set the record straight. Let your partner know there are ways to treat herpes and avoid passing it on during sex.
Tell your past partners too, so they can get tested.
How Do I Talk With People About Having Herpes
It might feel scary to admit you have herpes, but talking about things can really ease your mind. You could lean on a close, non-judgmental friend that you trust to keep the conversation private. Parents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, and other family members can also be a source of comfort. Remember, herpes is really common, so its possible the person youre talking to has herpes, too.
There are a lot of online support groups for people who have herpes, and the American Sexual Health Association has a list of support groups that meet in person.
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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.
What Is A Herpes Flare
When herpes flares up again, it is called a “recurrence” or “outbreak.” Herpes does not always recur, and if it does recur, the timing and severity are different from person to person. Some people rarely have recurrences. Others have them often. Herpes is most likely to recur in the first year after infection. Recurrences may be more frequent for people with weakened immune systems.
You may have some early warning signs before an outbreak occurs, like tingling, burning, or itching where sores were before. The warning signs may start a few hours or a day or so before the sores flare up. When symptoms recur, they are usually not as severe as symptoms during an initial herpes outbreak.
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Be Informed Of Not Contracting Another Std
Despite the fact that you have an STD, you still have to be cautious of not contracting other types of STDs. There are some STDs that have different types, just like herpes. Herpes has type 1 and type 2, while HPV has various types too, and some can even cause genital warts. Therefore, you dont have to be scared to ask for additional information on a particular STD, and even to request for medical evidence. You are presently in a bad circumstance please do not add to it.
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- What is the best treatment for me?
- What happens if I dont treat a cold sore?
- What are the side effects of antiviral medications?
- How can I reduce the risk of future outbreaks?
- Whats the best way to prevent getting another STI?
- How can I protect my partner from getting genital herpes?
- Should I lookout for signs of complications?
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How To Treat Herpes
When managing herpes, respond quickly. People generally can feel early on when an outbreak is going to occurthey feel a tingling or sometimes an aching sensation, and a little tiny start of a blister, Dr. Brayer says. If you treat it right away you can sometimes block it from coming.
When you first sense a herpes outbreak, immediately:
- Take aspirin. Its an anti-inflammatory and will lessen the virus, she says.
- Apply ice to the area for 10 to 15 minutes to slow the virus and lessen pain.
- Start an antiviral medication. If youve had several outbreaks, ask your doctor for specific prescription meds that you should keep on hand, Dr. Brayer says. If you catch an outbreak early enough, sometimes you can take just one pill and it will stop.
Herpes Diagnosis In A Newborn Baby
Diagnosing herpes in children is complicated. Children aren’t screened for the infection. In other words, only symptoms should alert the parent that all is not okay. It should prompt a diagnosis that could be done with a swab sample. Nevertheless, a complicated herpes infection calls for specific tests like a lumbar puncture.
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Herpes Coming Out Prompts: Existing Relationships
Option 1: âI have some news to share â I found out that I carry the herpes virus, and I think itâs important for you to get tested. I want to make it clear that Iâm not blaming you for my diagnosis, because a lot of people have herpes without any symptoms. Letâs talk about how you feel after youâve had some time to think.â
Option 2: âI need to have a chat about some news I got recently â I found out I have herpes. Iâve talked to a doctor and Iâve done some research, and itâs not a major problem â but youâll need to get tested and weâll need to start using protection. How do you feel about this?â
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.
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You’re Not Limited To A Herpes
I remember one particular night, sitting on the floor of my bedroom and reluctantly signing up for a herpes-positive dating site. It felt like my only viable option. Signing up felt embarrassing. It was another website filled with smiling partners claiming to have found love despite their positive status.
While some people appreciate these types of apps, I quickly learned that it was not the right space for me. As years passed and my understanding around stigma grew, I couldn’t help but feel that herpes and other STI-specific dating apps might be further reinforcing social stigmas.
With transparency and communication, STI-positive people can find love with STI-negative partners. I know, because I’ve experienced it.
Emily L. Depasse is a sexologist and sex educator redefining the narratives around sexually transmitted infections . Follow her on and @sexelducation.
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.”
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What Do I Do If I Find Out I Have Herpes
Its normal to have lots of different feelings after you find out that you have herpes. You might feel mad, embarrassed, ashamed, or upset at first. But youll probably feel a lot better as time goes by, and you see that having herpes doesnt have to be a big deal. People with herpes have relationships and live totally normal lives. There are treatments for herpes, and theres a lot you can do to make sure you dont give herpes to anyone you have sex with.
Millions and millions of people have herpes youre definitely not alone. Most people get at least one STD in their lifetime, and having herpes or another STD is nothing to feel ashamed of or embarrassed about. It doesnt mean youre dirty or a bad person it means youre a normal human who got a really common infection. The reality is that herpes can happen to anybody who has ever been kissed on the lips or had sex thats a LOT of people.
Herpes isnt deadly and it usually doesnt cause any serious health problems. While herpes outbreaks can be annoying and painful, the first flare-up is usually the worst. For many people, outbreaks happen less over time and may eventually stop completely. Even though the virus hangs around in your body for life, it doesnt mean youll be getting sores all the time.
And tell anyone you have sex with that you have herpes. Its not the easiest conversation, but its an important one. Here are some tips:
How To Tell Your Partner About The Herpes
Most people feel that their love lives are over once they discover they have herpes. Well, that is not the truth. Herpes patients have romantic relationships with one another or with persons without the STI.
Having conversations about STDs is not fun, but it is essential to tell your partner if you are infected. That way, you might prevent the condition from spreading.
Here are practical tips that might help to talk about it:
- Remain calm: Having the STI is a health condition and does not mean you are promiscuous. Therefore, go into the conversation with a positive and relaxed attitude. You can start the conversation by asking your partner if they have even had or been tested before.
- Know the facts: Be sure to read all the facts. It will help you let your sexual partner know there are methods to manage the condition and prevent transmission.
- Timing: Choose a time when you will not be interrupted or distracted and in a private place. If you are anxious, you can first talk through your friend or practice speaking in front of a mirror. It helps you know what you are confident in saying.
- If you think your partner might injure you, you can tell them using a phone call, text message, or email.
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Tips For Dating With Herpes
Receiving a herpes diagnosis can be nerve-wracking, but empowering yourself with knowledge from a medical professional will make navigating romance and dating much easier. Many people with herpes experience no complications and have healthy sexual and romantic relationships. However, there are a few extra steps to follow when dating with herpes.
Herpes Myths To Stop Freaking Out About
A surprising number of people you know probably have herpes.
Shocked? You shouldnt be, since the virus is very common. According to the World Health Organization, 3.7 billion people under age 50 have herpes simplex virus type 1 thats 67 percent of the global population in that age bracket. Another 417 million people between ages 15 and 49 worldwide have herpes simplex virus type 2 .
Many people consider HSV-1 more benign, but it turns out theres not much difference between the two types of virus. While its true that HSV-2 is a sexually transmitted disease and can cause genital sores or blisters, type 1 can do the same thing.
One big misconception is that cold sores are caused by HSV-1 and genital herpes are always type 2, but thats not always the case, says Sarah Vensel, a physician assistant in San Francisco. Cold sores are so common theyve been normalized at this point. But genital herpes is sometimes the exact same virus just in a different location.
Not only is herpes incredibly common its also totally manageable. Allow us to set your mind at ease and debunk three widespread herpes myths:
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The Stages Of A Cold Sore
Patricia, Facty Staff
Cold sores are red blisters full of fluid that usually appear around the lips and nose. Caused by a common viral infection, cold sores may also develop inside the mouth and can spread to the fingers. Cold sores are highly prevalent: 90 percent of the adult population carries the virus that causes them, though some people remain asymptomatic.
Is Herpes Curable
There is currently no cure for herpes. However, there are antiviral medications available that can help treat your symptoms, reduce future outbreaks, and lower the risk of passing the virus along to others. Even if youâre asymptomatic, you should talk to your doctor about which treatment options could work best for you.
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How Is It Spread
The herpes virus is spread by skin-to-skin contact with a person who has the herpes virus:
- Most often, from herpes sores or blisters
- Less often, from normal looking skin where the virusfirst entered the body
- The herpes virus enters the body through the:
- Lining of the mouth
- Regular skin that has small cracks or cuts
People with a weak immune system can get a herpesinfection more easily. A weak immune system is causedby some diseases and by somemedicines used to treat serious diseases.
People who dont know they have herpes can still spread the virus to others.
Search For A Person In Similar Condition
It is recommended that you search for someone experiencing a similar condition that you are. A difficult aspect of this is, understanding that you cant simply get into a relationship with anyone anymore. The free playing field is now totally different from how it was. That is exactly how it goes and once you get over that you can begin living and continuing your life.
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Myth: A Condom Protects 100% Against Genital Herpes
The herpes virus is always active in your body, even when no sores are present.
Wearing a condom is an important preventative measure if you or your partner has herpes, but it doesn’t guarantee complete protection. The herpes virus lives both inside and outside the area a condom covers, so it can still spread from one person to another.
If you’re concerned about contracting or transmitting herpes, don’t have sex if you or your partner has an active herpes outbreak. The virus is more likely to spread when active sores and ulcers exist. It’s also important that the infected person regularly take antiviral medicine to keep their infection under control.
Why Genital Herpes Comes Back
Genital herpes is caused by a virus called herpes simplex. Once you have the virus, it stays in your body.
It will not spread in your body to cause blisters elsewhere. It stays in a nearby nerve and causes blisters in the same area.
If you can, avoid things that trigger your symptoms.
Triggers can include:
- surgery on your genital area
- a weakened immune system for example, from having chemotherapy for cancer
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