What Should I Do If I Have Genital Herpes
If you have genital herpes:
- See a doctor or nurse as soon as possible for testing and treatment.
- Take all of the medicine. Even if symptoms go away, you need to finish all of the antiviral medicine.
- Tell your sex partner so they can be tested and treated if necessary.
- Avoid any sexual contact while you are being treated for genital herpes or while you have an outbreak.
- Remember that genital herpes is a lifelong disease. Even though you may not have a genital herpes outbreak for long periods of time, you can still pass the virus to another person at any time. Talk with your doctor or nurse about how to prevent passing the virus to another person.
Dont Miss: Can Herpes Cause Skin Rash
How Painful Is Herpes Simplex
Some people experience very mild genital herpes symptoms or no symptoms at all. Frequently, people infected with the virus donât even know they have it. However, when it causes symptoms, it can be described as extremely painful. This is especially true for the first outbreak, which is often the worst. Outbreaks are described as aches or pains in or around the genital area or burning, pain, or difficulty urinating. Some people experience discharge from the or .
Oral herpes lesions usually cause tingling and burning just prior to the breakout of the blisters. The blisters themselves can also be painful.
Advice: I Had Sex And Didnt Tell My Partner That I Have Herpes
Not telling your partner that you have a sexually transmitted infection is not only uncool its not fair.
Dear Asking For A Friend,
I performed oral sex a couple of times on my boyfriend, which in itself isnt a big deal, except that I carry the herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 and I havent told him. We also had vaginal sex. I didnt have an outbreak at the time and there were no blisters on my mouth or genitals at the time. Still, I feel so badly for not telling him. Should he be tested? And how can I talk to him about it?
Signed, Feeling Bad
Dear Feeling bad,
Genital herpes type 1 can be transmitted through oral-to-oral contact, like kissing or sharing a toothbrush, and herpes type 2 can be acquired by having unprotected sex with someone who already has it. And although its rare, the virus can also be activated after having hyaluronic acid filler lip injections, usually within 24 to 48 hours after the procedure. Herpes is most contagious when there is an outbreak, but it can also be passed to your partner even if there are no visible symptoms. With treatment, herpes can be managed, but not cured.
Don’t Miss: How Do Herpes Look Like On Lips
Recurrence Course Triggers And Timing
Course of Recurrence
Most cases of herpes simplex recur. The site on the body and the type of virus influence how often it comes back. Recurrences of genital herpes are more likely with HSV-2 infection than with HSV-1 infection.
The virus usually takes the following course:
- Prodrome. The outbreak of infection is often preceded by a prodrome, an early group of symptoms that may include itchy skin, pain, or an abnormal tingling sensation at the site of infection. Headache, enlarged lymph glands, and flu-like symptoms may occur. The prodrome, which may last from 2 hours to 2 days, stops when the blisters develop. About 25% of the time, recurrence does not go beyond the prodrome stage.
- Outbreak. Recurrent outbreaks feature most of the same symptoms at the same sites as the primary attack, but they tend to be milder and briefer. After blisters erupt, they typically heal in 6 to 10 days. Occasionally, the symptoms may not resemble those of the primary episode, but appear as fissures and scrapes in the skin or as general inflammation around the affected area.
Triggers of Recurrence
Herpes outbreaks can be triggered by different factors. They include sunlight, wind, fever, physical injury, surgery, menstruation, suppression of the immune system, and emotional stress. Oral herpes can be triggered within about 3 days of intense dental work, particularly root canal or tooth extraction.
Timing of Recurrences
Recommended Reading: How To Get Rid Of Herpes Discharge
Myth: You Always Get A Herpes Outbreak Soon After Becoming Infected
Herpes is a sneaky infection. It can exist in the body for months or even years without showing symptoms, but its still contagious nonetheless.
If you do develop an outbreak, it will most likely happen two to twelve days after initial exposure to the virus. After the blisters break, they can take up to four weeks to heal.
Fortunately, subsequent outbreaks tend to be less intense. Recurring outbreaks are common but dont last nearly as long. These sores tend to heal within three to seven days, and the number of outbreak periods may even decrease over time.
Read Also: How To Make Oral Herpes Go Away Faster
You May Like: Can Men Be Tested For Herpes
Sexual Ways You Can Transmit Herpes Other Than Sex
Weve all heard the saying people talk about sexual diseases and dont catch one. Were taught in sex ed or maybe were taught that having sex can lead to STIs, in our case herpes and other things. And so with that said we go out into the world and become sexually active and think that the only way we can get something is by having sex. The other big thing were told is that if you use a condom then youre fine but thats another whole topic.
Sotoday I want to talk about ways herpes can be transmitted to protect you and youre partners.
Before we go into the sexual ways herpes can be transmitted lets do a little breakdown on why and how herpes is transmitted.
Also if you want to get the full deets on herpes you can .
Herpes is a virus and its skin to skin transmission. So, in other words, you catch herpes from touching someone else who has the herpes virus. Dont freak out, this does not mean that if you touch someone youll immediately get herpes or if you have herpes you can never have human contact again. What it means is if you touch someone in the area that the person is infected in then youre at a pretty high risk of contracting the herpes virus.
So for example, if you have genital herpes and you hug someone then you are not at risk of transmitting herpes. Unless, of course, you used your genitals to hug someonelol. So does that make sense?
What Can We Do To Reduce My Chances Of Getting The Herpes Infection
If you take the necessary precautions, the chances of getting the herpes virus from your partner are reduced. Genital herpes does not mean abstinence from sex or a reduced enjoyment of sex.
The risk of transmitting the herpes virus can be reduced by about 50% if you use condoms. The continued use of condoms in a long-term relationship is a personal decision that only the couple can make. Most find that as the importance of the HSV infection in their relationship is seen in perspective, that condom use becomes less relevant if this is the only reason condoms are being used.
However, most couples choose to avoid genital skin-to-skin contact during an active episode of herpes because this is when the herpes virus is most readily transmitted. This period includes the time from when your partner first has warning signs of an outbreak, such as a tingling or burning in the genitals, until the last of the sores has healed. Also, sexual activity prolongs the healing of the episode.
Herpes transmission risk is increased if there are any breaks in the skin. For example, if you have thrush or small abrasions from sexual intercourse, often due to insufficient lubrication. It can be helpful to use a lubricant specifically for sexual intercourse and avoid sex if you have thrush. A sexual lubricant is helpful right at the start of sexual activity.
If you or your partner has a cold sore, it is advisable to avoid oral sex as this can spread the herpes virus to the genitals.
Read Also: Can You Test For Herpes Through Blood
How Is Genital Herpes Treated
Herpes has no cure. But antiviral medicines can prevent or shorten outbreaks during the time you take the medicine. Also, daily suppressive therapy for herpes can lower your chance of spreading the infection to your partner.
Your doctor will either give you antiviral medicine to take right after getting outbreak symptoms or to take regularly to try to stop outbreaks from happening. Talk to your doctor about treatment options.
During outbreaks, you can take the following steps to speed healing and prevent spreading herpes to other parts of your body or to other people:
- Keep sores clean and dry.
- Try not to touch the sores.
- Wash your hands after any contact with the sores.
- Avoid all sexual contact from the time you first notice symptoms until the sores have healed.
Myth #: If Someone Has Herpes Theyre Probably Promiscuous
One of my favorite myths is that only promiscuous or slutty people get herpesI just want to shout from the rooftops that this is absolutely not the case, says Hawkins. Herpes is something thats super easily transmitted. This is especially true of type 1 oral herpes, as you may have contracted it from, say, your grandmother as a kid. If this is the case, 15 years later you could perform oral sex on your partner and accidentally transmit your type 1 to his or her genitalsits that easy.
For this and all the reasons outlined abovethe fact that its difficult to test for, most people dont know they have it, it can be contracted non-sexually, etcyou can catch genital herpes from your first love, your long-term partner, someone who has been STD tested and shows you a clean bill of health, etc. Your number of sexual partners and your sexual proclivities are irrelevant.
You May Like: What To Know About Herpes
How Do I Take Suppressive Therapy
There are two oral antivirals available for suppressive treatment in New Zealand:
- Aciclovir tablets 400mg taken twice daily, morning and night. If you start suppressive therapy, it is important not to miss any doses and to take it regularly at approximately 12 hourly intervals. If your recurrences are not suppressed by this dose, you should discuss this with your doctor as taking 200mg four times a day may be more effective. Aciclovir is also available in a soluble form if you are unable to swallow tablets.
- Valtrex tablets 500mg taken once a day. People who find aciclovir isnt working in treating problematic recurrent herpes can now access Valtrex by fully subsidised prescription from their doctor through a Special Authority application. This is a new generation antiviral with better absorption.
How Does Herpes Simplex Spread
Herpes spreads through close contact with a person who has the infection. The virus can be found in skin and saliva. If you have herpes simplex, you are most likely to pass the virus to another person when you have sores. But you can infect someone else even if you have no symptoms. Healthcare providers call this asymptomatic viral shedding.
People may get HSV-1 through
- Touching a persons skin near the mouth.
- Sharing food utensils, lip balm or razors.
- If you receive oral sex from someone who has a cold sore, it may spread a herpes infection to your genitals.
People may get HSV-2 through
- Oral sex with someone whos infected.
- Skin-to-skin contact without ejaculation.
- Touching open sores, including while breastfeeding.
- Childbirth by a mother or gestational parent who has an active infection.
You cant get genital herpes from objects like toilet seats. But you could pass genital herpes through shared sex toys.
Also Check: How To Lower The Chances Of Spreading Herpes
You May Like: Best Otc Genital Herpes Treatment
What Are The Symptoms Of Genital Herpes
Most women with genital herpes do not know they have it. But, if you get symptoms with the first outbreak of genital herpes, they can be severe. Genital herpes also can be severe and long-lasting in people whose immune systems do not work properly, such as women with HIV.
The first signs of genital herpes usually show up two to 12 days after having sexual contact with someone who has herpes. Symptoms can last from two to four weeks. There are other early symptoms of genital herpes:
- Feeling of pressure in the abdomen
- Flu-like symptoms, including fever
If you have any symptoms of genital herpes, see a doctor or nurse.
What Happens Once You Have Hsv
Once a person becomes infected with a herpes virus, the virus never leaves the body. After the first outbreak, the virus moves from the skin cells to nerve cells. The virus stays in the nerve cells forever. But it usually just stays there. In this stage, the virus is said to be dormant, or asleep. But it can become active again.
Some things that can trigger the virus are:
Don’t Miss: How To Clear Up Oral Herpes Fast
Myth #: There Are Two Types: Genital And Oral Herpes
Buckle up, because this is where things get really confusing. There are two types of herpes, HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 is typically oral, meaning it causes cold sores on the mouth. More than half the population has been exposed to this virus, and often from childhood. HSV-2 is typically genital, and most usually is transmitted through sexual contact.
With that said, Dr. Dweck says that herpes type 1 can be spread to the genitals via oral contact . So you might have type 1 that only presents orally, or you might have type 1 that only presents genitally. Herpes type 2 can also be spread in the reverse fashion, from the genitals of one individual to the mouth of the other .
Read Also: Can You Donate Eggs With Herpes
Discussing Genital Herpes With Your Partner
Many people do not feel comfortable talking about sexuality and sexual health issues. This information will explore ways of feeling more confident in discussing herpes in the context of a sexual relationship.
Cold sores on the mouth and genital herpes are medically the same conditions. The significant difference arises from the stigma that tends to accompany a herpes infection that is sexually transmitted.
Most people find that their partners are both supportive and understanding. It is a common assumption to initially think that a person may base their judgement of you on the fact you have genital herpes. However, for most this is a minor skin infection. People fear the possibility of rejection but the reality of this is that it rarely happens.
Because fear of rejection is a concern, it leads some to question why they should risk talking about herpes. Accordingly, some people choose not to tell. Instead, they abstain during herpes outbreaks, practice safe sex at other times, and hope for the best.
This strategy may have more disadvantages than advantages. First of all, you spend a lot of time and energy worrying that your partner is going to get herpes. Its much harder to tell someone if they just found out theyre infected with herpes. For most people, the anxiety over not telling your partner you have herpes is worse than the telling itself.
If you are able to discuss the situation openly and honestly, you can find imaginative ways to be safely sexually intimate.
Recommended Reading: How To Cure Herpes Breakout
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.
What If A Partner Has Herpes
In a new relationship there is always risk. Usually this risk is emotional. When a partner has herpes, there is additional risk that you could get it, too. You may have concerns about risking infection for a relationship that may not last. Youll want to understand how to lower the risk for infection and ways to talk with your partner. Remember, if you have been sexually active you may already have been at risk for herpes.
You may have it and not know it. Because herpes can be spread without symptoms it can be hard to know when a person became infected and who infected them. In fact, if you and your partner have had sex, its possible your partner got herpes from you.
In an intimate, sexual relationship with a person who has herpes, the risk of contracting the infection will never be zero. Some couples have sexual relationships for years without transmitting herpes just by avoiding sexual contact during outbreaks, using condoms regularly and using suppressive antiviral therapy to reduce outbreaks.
Also Check: How Do You Know If You Have Mouth Herpes
How Dangerous Is Genital Herpes
Many people who have genital herpes dont know it and dont have symptoms. But sometimes, there can be serious complications.
If your partner is pregnant or trying to get pregnant, genital herpes is a major concern. This is because the virus that causes herpes can pass to the baby, which can be very dangerous. The womans doctor needs to know about it.
Genital herpes is also more serious for people with HIV and other conditions that weaken the immune system.
For some people, depression can be a risk if they have problems adjusting to their symptoms or the impact on their sex life.
Get Herpes Treatment Online
Do you think you have herpes? Antiviral medications such as acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir can help shorten the length and lessen the severity of your symptoms, and you do not need to visit your doctors office for these treatments.
At PlushCare, you can schedule an online doctors appointment. After talking to one of our licensed doctors through a video or phone call, your doctor will determine if you would benefit from any antiviral medication. Then, they can electronically send it to your pharmacy, where you can pick it up as soon as its ready.
You could get herpes treatment online as soon as today. Schedule an appointment with a trusted PlushCare doctor now!
Recommended Reading: How Does Herpes Look Like