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.
Lets Look At Other Sexual Ways You Can Transmit Herpes
Ok so most of us dont think that STIs or STDs can be transmitted with oral sex. But the truth is it can. In fact, herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HPV, and hepatitis b can be transmitted through oral sex, the only thing thats 100% not possible is pregnancy. What this means is oral sex is not a great solution to not having a condom or an easy way to not have the conversation about safe sex. Oral sex transmission is just as probable as vaginal sex. THeres a lot of new herpes cases that pop up from just having oral sex.
Spooning or Cuddling
What Im trying to get across is a couple of things. 1) just having sex doesnt transmit herpes 2) you really need to communicate with your partner about having herpes 3) please dont let this stop you from having skin to skin contact or be afraid of touching your partner.
What Is The Risk Of Transmission Between Recurrences
Studies have shown that virus may sometimes be found on an infected area, even when there are no visible symptoms. This is called asymptomatic shedding. If enough virus is present when direct skin contact takes place, a partner may become infected.
The fewer recurrences a person has, the less chance there is of asymptomatic shedding.
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How Does Genital Herpes Spread
Herpes can be spread when an infected person has lesions blisters and open sores on their body or when you do not have any symptoms. Taking antiviral medicine can help you reduce the risk of spreading genital herpes to your sexual partners. You can also:
- Inform your sexual partner that you have genital herpes.
- Use a condom every time you have sex.
- Refrain from having sex when you have symptoms.
- Abstain from performing oral sex if you have blisters or open sores around your mouth.
Facts About Cold Sores
Cold sores usually appear as a single watery blister on the lip or mouth, or several blisters that consolidate into one.
They are usually caused by herpes simplex virus-1 . HSV-1 is the cousin of HSV-2, which is primarily associated with genital herpes.
However, HSV-1 can also lead to genital herpes during oral sex and HSV-2 can sometimes lead to cold sores.
HSV-1 is very common. About 67% of the world’s population under age 50 has HSV-1.
Cold sores affect roughly 3 of every 1,000 people each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Of these, 33% will experience subsequent attacks triggered by stress, fever, and other causes.
Once you have HSV-1 it doesn’t go away. If you develop a cold sore, the virus can spread more easily.
Cold sores are typically spread through saliva and direct contact. You can get them through kissing or sharing lip balm with someone who has a cold sore.
Cold sores can be painful and may take up to 14 days before active healing begins.
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Preparing To Talk To Partner
Before you talk about herpes and sexual health with a partner, make sure you are prepared to address any misinformation or misconceptions he or she might have. How well informed are you? Do you know the basic steps to reduce the risk to your partner? Do you know the facts about herpes? You want to feel confident and knowledgeable before you can explain the infection to someone else. Be prepared with information from ASHA and other reliable sources.
How Can I Best Learn To Cope With Herpes Simplex
Some people feel distressed or embarrassed about their herpes simplex infection. Its important to understand that the herpes virus is common. For most people, herpes doesnt significantly interfere with daily life.
To cope with negative feelings, you may consider:
- Connecting with others through support groups or online forums.
- Sharing your feelings with a trusted friend or loved one.
- Speaking with a therapist.
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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.
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.
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How Can I Make Sure I Dont Give Anyone Herpes
If you find out that you have herpes, try not to freak out. There are a few ways that you can stop it from spreading to your partners and other parts of your body.
Talk with your doctor about taking herpes medication every day, which can lower your chances of spreading herpes.
Dont have sex during a herpes outbreak, even with a condom. There may be sores on places the condom doesnt cover.
Learn how to tell when an outbreak is coming, and stop having sex right when you notice these signs. You may feel a burning, itching, or tingling feeling that lets you know youre about to get sores.
Dont have sex until your sores are totally gone, and the scabs heal and fall off.
Dont touch your herpes sores, because you can spread the infection to other parts of your body or other people. If you touch a sore, wash your hands with soap and water right after.
Dont wet contact lenses with spit this might spread your oral herpes to your eye.
If you have a cold sore on your mouth, don’t kiss anyone especially babies, children, or pregnant women.
Always tell your sexual partners that you have herpes before you have sex, so you can work together to prevent it from spreading. Telling someone you have an STD can be hard, but herpes is super common and doesnt lead to serious health problems. So try not to be too embarrassed or stressed out about it.
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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What Is Neonatal Herpes
Neonatal herpes can be a very serious infection. Babies generally contract the virus from their birthing parent during childbirth even if the parent doesnt have active lesions. They may also get HSV-1 if an adult with an active cold sore kisses them. Breastfeeding babies can also get HSV-1 from the breast if there are lesions present. But babies cant get herpes from breast milk, so its safe to pump and feed.
Herpes simplex can be more dangerous for young babies because they dont have a fully developed immune system. But most babies with neonatal herpes can recover fully with treatment.
The dangers of neonatal herpes are much higher if the infection spreads to the babys organs. If youre pregnant and have herpes, speak with your healthcare provider about how to lower the risk of passing the infection to your baby.
If You Were Infected During Oral Sex
If you are someone who acquired genital herpes during oral sex, it’s a good idea to talk to your partner about what happened. Think about educating them, rather than engaging in blame.
It’s unlikely that they were trying to intentionally transmit an STI. Unfortunately, a lot of people with cold sores are unaware of the risk of transmitting herpes during oral sex.
Fortunately, this risk can be greatly reduced by using appropriate barriers or suppressive treatments.
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My Partner Has Herpes How Can I Avoid Getting It And And Still Have A Fulfilling Sex Life
I just found out the guy Ive been seeing for a couple weeks has herpes. Im full of questions, but one question I keep dwelling on is, how can people get pregnant without passing on herpes to their partner? How can I avoid getting herpes and still have a fulfilling sex life with him?
Its normal to have complicated feelings after you find out that your partner has herpes. Millions of people are living with herpes, and sharing your concerns with your partner and educating yourself on how its spread are good ways to protect yourself.
Genital herpes is spread from skin-to-skin contact with someone who has it including . Herpes can live on areas of your body that arent protected by condoms , so condoms wont always protect you from herpes. But they do lower your chances of getting herpes.
Here are other ways to avoid getting herpes from your partner:
Talk with your partner about taking herpes medicine every day, which can lower their chances of spreading herpes.
Dont have sex during a herpes outbreak, even with a condom. There may be sores on places the condom doesnt cover. Wait until the sores are totally gone, and the scabs heal and fall off.
Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of people worldwide. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. is a registered 501 nonprofit under EIN 13-1644147. Donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable under the law.
Genital Herpes Treatment In Pregnancy
You may be offered antiviral treatment:
- to treat outbreaks in pregnancy
- from 36 weeks to reduce the chance of an outbreak during birth
- from diagnosis until the birth if you first get herpes after 28 weeks of pregnancy
Many women with genital herpes have a vaginal delivery. You may be offered a caesarean, depending on your circumstances.
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But What If I Practice Safe Sex
If your partner has genital herpes practicing safe sex can reduce the chances of you catching herpes, but it wont reduce your chances to zero.
If youre with a partner who has an outbreak you shouldnt have sex at all, as a condom likely wont stop your skin coming into contact with their infected skin.
If your partner has genital herpes but doesnt have symptoms then remember you can still catch their virus. Protection, like condoms and dental dams, can minimize your chances, but wont be perfect prevention.
My Partner Just Told Me They Have Herpes I Dont Now What
ByAnna C.|June 30, 2014, noon
Pictured above: From
Has your new partner just informed you that he or she has herpes? People have many reactions when hearing this kind of news and, depending on how informed you are about herpes, your reaction might be tinged with panic or fear. If thats your instinct, try to keep those feelings in check: Your partner might be feeling very vulnerable, so its best not to react with shunning or shaming.
More than 80 percent of people with genital herpes are unaware of their infections.
Herpes is more widespread than most of us realize. It can be caused by one of two strains of the herpes simplex virus: HSV-1 or HSV-2. While HSV-1 is more commonly associated with cold sores and HSV-2 is more commonly associated with genital herpes, either virus can infect the genital area. One estimate states that 1 out of 5 American females and 1 out of 9 American males between 14 to 49 years of age have a genital HSV-2 infection.
Now that you know your partner has herpes, you might have some questions. How easy is it to transmit genital herpes from one partner to another? What can you do to minimize your chances of catching the virus? And, while it is certainly stigmatized in our culture, is herpes something to fear?
has not hindered my love life, inhibited my ambition, or limited my friendships .
An anonymous writer shared these inspiring words:
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How Is It Treated
Outbreaks may occur during your lifetime due to a number of factors such as stress or changes to your diet but, usually, they are unpredictable. If an outbreak should occur, treatment such as antiviral medication will help to reduce the symptoms.
It is important to keep in mind that the first outbreak of Herpes is usually the worst. Outbreaks may recur throughout your life, however should become less frequent as you get older.
If you are unsure if you have genital herpes it is important to take a test to find out whether or not you have the infection in order to reduce the risk of transmission. At Your Sexual Health, there is a wide range of sexual health tests including genital herpes test to give you peace of mind.
Often Asked: How Can You Get Herpes Without Being Sexually Active
Can you get herpes without being sexually active? Yes. Herpes can be transmitted through innocent body contact, like someone touching you with the virus on their fingers. Cold sores can be passed through kissing and herpes can even be transmitted from a mother to her baby during pregnancy and childbirth.05-Oct-2020
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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.
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.
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Myth #: You Get Tested For It Every Time You Ask For An Sti Check
In the midst of reporting this piece, I happened to see my OB/GYN. Regarding herpes, he told me, and I quote, We can land a man on the moon but we cant figure out herpes diagnosis.
So, heres the thing: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention doesnt recommend routine herpes testing, which means that unless you specifically ask for it, youre not getting tested for it. This might seem like a massive oversight, but there are a number of good reasons for this.
When you do blood testing for herpes, its very difficult to interpret, says NYC-based gynecologist Alyssa Dweck, MD. It might tell you youve been exposed at one point at your life, but it wont tell you when that happened or who you got it fromso the usual STD screen doesnt test for herpes in the blood unless people ask for it. Even then, a positive result will mean youll be told youve been exposed to herpes, which isnt quite the same thing as being told you have it. Plus, per the CDC, diagnosing someone without symptoms via a blood test has not shown to change their sexual behavior or stop the spread of the virus.