How To Prevent Herpes
But most people have sex at some point in their lives, so knowing how to have safer sex is important. Using protection like condoms and dental dams when you have sex helps to lower your risk of getting an STD.
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.
Dont have sex with anyone during a herpes outbreak, because thats when it spreads most easily. But herpes can also spread when there are no sores or symptoms, so its important to use condoms and dental dams, even if everything looks and feels A-OK.
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?
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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My Boyfriend Is Worried Ill Give Him Herpes
Q: Ive had genital herpes. I rarely get a sore nowadays, but my boyfriend is concerned that hell get infected. Are there certain things that could increase my likelihood of infecting him?
A: Fifteen to 20 percent of the population is infected with herpes simplex type 2, the virus which most frequently causes genital herpes. But most of these individuals dont have a clue that they are infected or think that no sore means not infectious and, as a result, unknowingly transmit it to a partner.
We can now tell if a person has had herpes by checking his or her blood for type-2 herpes antibodies, and this test has allowed us to discover just how many individuals do indeed carry the virus.
The general rate of transmission of a person who has had herpes to their regular partner is about 10 percent per year, but the annual rate rises if the infected partner is a male. Unfairly, the female partner has a 20 percent chance of becoming infected, while the male partners risk is less than 10 percent.
There are certain conditions that increase an individuals chance for viral shedding and infection:
Vaginal bacterial infection. This can take the form of bacterial vaginosis , which is the most common type of vaginal infection, usually involving bacteria that dont like oxygen. Symptoms include irritating yellow or green discharge and a foul, often fishy odor. It is thought that BV causes an inflamed state in which the herpes virus is more likely to reactivate and shed.
Be Transparent With Your Partner
One of the most important aspects of dating with herpes is transparency. If youre interested in a certain person and want to start a relationship with them, you need to let them know about your herpes status before initiating sexual contact. Not disclosing HSV-2 or HSV-1 isnt an option.
Being open, honest and transparent with your partner is an important part of building trust and creating an honest connection. As impossible as it can seem, telling your partner that you have genital herpes isnt as hard as you might think, and is way better than not disclosing HSV-2 or HSV-1 to them and having to tell them after the fact .
Our guide to having sex when you have herpes covers this topic in more detail, with several tips that you can use to gently break the news to your partner. We like to think we did a pretty good job with it.
As always, its important to stay positive. If you have a strong connection with someone, theyll listen. You might even be surprised to learn that your partner is accepting and doesnt care about your genital herpes, or even that they also have HSV-1 or 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.
Is Genital Herpes Infection Related To Hiv
Herpes and HIV are caused by different viruses. But patients infected with these viruses are more likely to transmit either disease to their sexual partners. Patients with herpes are more vulnerable to HIV infection. People newly diagnosed with herpes should be tested for HIV infection and other sexually transmitted infections.
Patients who are infected with both herpes and HIV also may have a higher concentration of HIV viruses in their body because of the interaction between the herpes virus and the HIV virus. When HIV damages a persons immune system, the person may be more likely to shed herpes simplex virus asymptomatically.
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How Effective Is Medication At Preventing Infection
If you have genital herpes, you will probably be somewhat less likely to infect your partner if you use antiviral medication for prevention. The medications used for this purpose include aciclovir, famciclovir and valaciclovir. They must be taken every day over a long period of time, though. One study showed that over a period of eight months,
- 4 out of 100 people became infected when the partner with the virus took a placebo, and
- 2 out of 100 people became infected when the partner with the virus took antiviral medication every day.
These couples were also advised to use condoms as well but many didnt use them consistently. So its not clear whether taking antiviral medication can lower the risk of infection even further if you always use condoms anyway, or whether using condoms is just as effective on its own.
Whether or not you would like to use preventive medication is ultimately an individual decision. Many factors can play a role, such as how long you or your partner have had the infection, how frequent and severe the outbreaks are, whether you are male or female, the frequency of sexual contact and whether you use condoms.
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Testing For Genital Herpes
If you think you may have genital herpes you should make an appointment with your GP or local sexual health services.
If there are symptoms present such as blisters, sores and ulcers, your doctor or nurse may be able to make a diagnosis straight away.
If you have visible blisters, your doctor or nurse may take a swab for testing, to check if this is herpes and what type. This swab can also test for another STI which causes blisters called syphilis.
The genital herpes swab tests are very reliable, though if the ulcer is too dry then it may be less likely to find a positive result.
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Other Impacts Of Genital Herpes
Its important to also remember that there are mental and social impacts of having an incurable STI. Many people with recurrent genital herpes symptoms may feel stigmatized or fearful of pursuing sexual relationships. But people should remember, while genital herpes is not curable, it is manageable, and the outbreaks often decrease over time.
Most people live healthy happy lives with genital herpes .
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How Common Is Genital Herpes
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 40 million to 50 million adults in the United States have genital herpes. HSV II infection is more common in women and in people who have had more than five sexual partners. Most people with HSV II do not know they have it, because it does not always cause symptoms.
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What Are Signs Of Genital Herpes In Women
Women who have the herpes virus may have nooutbreaks or signs of infection. Many do not know theyhave the virus. Once you are infected, the virus staysin your nerve cells for life. When the virus is not active,there is no sign of infection. When the virus becomesactive, a herpes outbreak occurs. Some womenmay not have any outbreaks or may have only oneoutbreak, while others may have multiple outbreaks.
What Is A Herpes Outbreak
A herpes outbreak happens when lesions called blisters or sores start to form on your genitals, bottom or mouth. If you have oral sex, you can also get oral herpes in the mouth. Your first outbreak of genital herpes will generally last longer with more severe symptoms, such as a fever or muscle aches.
Recurrent infections happen because the virus stays dormant in your body. Once triggered, the virus reactivates which leads to an outbreak. Triggers for recurrent infections can include being stressed, being on your period or feeling run down.
You might have an outbreak of herpes a long time after youve had unprotected sex. The virus can stay in your body and not cause symptoms straight away.
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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 .
How Do I Know If I Have Herpes
The best way for a clinician to determine if someone is infected with HSV-1 or HSV-2 is to perform a laboratory analysis on a sample from a fresh herpes sore. But, because not everyone with herpes has symptoms, your clinician may instead use a blood test that can detect antibodies to the herpes viruses. A blood test can show if you have herpes and, if so, determine whether you are infected with HSV-1 or HSV-2. However, a blood test cannot tell you what part of your body the virus will affect.
If you want to be tested for herpes, ask your clinician. A standard screening for sexually transmitted diseases may not include herpes unless you specifically ask.
Remember, however, that HSV-1 is a very common virus, and there is a 5060 percent probability that you will test positive for it. If you are a sexually active adult who has had multiple partners, there is a 1020 percent probability that you will test positive for HSV-2.
Here are some other things to consider before you get tested:
- If you test negative for one or both of these viruses, what will you do to prevent them?
- If you test positive for one or both of these viruses, will you tell potential partners before you engage in sexual activity or, in the case of HSV-1, before you kiss them or engage in oral sex?
Learning that you have herpes can be confusing and scary. We encourage you to have an in-depth conversation with your healthcare provider before you decide to get tested.
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Pain And/or Itching In Or Around The Blisters
Lesions are usually very painful to touchespecially during the first herpes outbreak, which tends to be more severe. “The main thing that brings women into the office with herpes is pain,” said Dr. Shirazian.
Bumps that you find just by chance when sudsing up in the shower or toweling off probably aren’t herpes. “Herpes lesions will make themselves known and felt,” said Dr. Shirazian. They can also itch, especially as they begin to scab over and heal.
Bumps On Fingers Not Itchy
Dermatologists say that it is very common for both malignant and benign tumors of the skin, soft tissue or of bone to appear on fingers. Bumps on fingers that are not itchy can be a possible sign of either malignant or benign tissue growth. To rule out the possibility of cancer, a biopsy or surgical removal of the bump is most recommended.
According to Medscapes Benjamin W Beckert MD and Joseph A Molnar, MD, Ph.D., lump and bump at hand are quite common. The say that most of the times the bumps are often benign tumors. They say that a high index of suspicion is always imperative to avoid the misdiagnosis of a malignant tumor.
Close to 2% of all tumors that occur on hand and fingers are malignant. A malignant tumor is that with the ability to invade and destroy nearby tissue, meaning the tumor is able to spread to other parts of the body. Primary malignant tissue can further be subdivided into skin tumors, musculoskeletal tumor and soft tissue tumors.
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The Health Risks Of Genital Herpes
Pain and discomfort are the main health effects of genital herpes, but the virus can also cause emotional and social problems for those infected. Although it cannot be cured, genital herpes can be managed with antiviral medication that may help control the recurrences. On rare occasions, genital herpes may cause serious complications such as blindness and inflammation of the brain.
Genital herpes can sometimes be passed from an infected mother to her child during pregnancy or birth. The infection can be life-threatening to the child or result in skin lesions or brain damage. Antiviral medication and a cesarean delivery can reduce the risk of infecting the child.
If Someone With Herpes Has No Sores Can It Still Be Passed On
If someone has herpes but no sores, can it still be passed on to another person? Spence*
Yes. Even when no sores are present, the herpes is still active in the body and can spread to others.
If you or your partner has herpes, reduce the risk of spread by:
- using a condom every time you have sex . The herpes virus can live outside of the area that a condom covers, though, so a condom may not always prevent the spread.
- avoiding sex during outbreaks
- making sure the infected person takes antiviral medicine every day as prescribed by the health care provider
- *Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
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Myth #: You Can Cure Herpes Holistically
Both experts tell me, unequivocally, that herpes cannot be cured. Unfortunately, I think some herbal remedies take advantage of the misconception that they can cure herpes, but whats really happening in these scenarios is that your outbreak is going away, Hawkins says. Outbreaks tend to lessen naturally over time, BTW, whether or not you invest in supplements and holistic remedies. There is no cure for herpes it is with a person for life, she says.
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Will Suppressive Therapy Make It Easier To Live With Genital Herpes
Suppressive herpes therapy may give marked improvement to your emotional well-being. Many people find the fact that they can control the infection gives a boost to their sense of well-being and self-confidence. Even if only taken for a few months, suppressive therapy can help you to come to terms with emotions caused by recurrent genital herpes, including depression and anxiety.
However, suppressive therapy is only part of it. There are benefits gained from expert counselling from your doctor or nurse, or by speaking to a counsellor on the tollfree Herpes Helpline 0508 11 12 13. Make sure that you continue to talk to a health professional you are comfortable with, at least until you feel completely at ease with having genital herpes and in command of the infection.
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