What Can I Do If I Have Herpes Simplex 2
Many people who find out they have herpes feel depressed knowing they’ll always have the virus and can give it to others. But you arent alone. Herpes is one of the most common STIs, both in the U.S. and worldwide. If you have herpes, you should:
- Learn all you can about it. Information will help you to manage your disease and feel better about yourself.
- Talk about your illness with your doctor.
If you have herpes, you can still:
- Have sex if you use a condom or dental dam , and you tell your partner about your illness. Some couples, who have sexual relations only with each other, may choose not to use condoms even though one partner has herpes. Because each situation is different, you should ask your doctor if this is the right choice for you in your relationship.
- Have children. People with herpes can still give birth to healthy babies. If you have herpes and plan to have children, discuss your illness with your healthcare provider.
If you have herpes, you should also get checked for HIV and other STIs .
Is There A Cure For Herpes Simplex
There is no cure for herpes simplex. Once you have the virus, its a lifelong infection.
What is the outlook for people with herpes simplex?
For many people, the first herpes outbreak is the most severe. Many outbreaks are less frequent and milder after the first year of infection. Some people may have only one outbreak and never have another again.
Std Awareness: How Can I Protect Myself If My Partner Has Herpes
ByAnna C.|Sept. 30, 2013, noon
Has your partner, or potential partner, recently informed you that he or she has been diagnosed with genital herpes? After thinking about it, did you decide to continue with the relationship, despite not being infected with the virus that causes genital herpes yourself? Congratulations the two of you are now a discordant couple, which means that one of you has genital herpes and the other doesnt. While you might have come to the conclusion that acquiring a herpes simplex virus infection below the belt wont be the end of the world, you still might want to stay discordant and do everything you can to minimize chances of virus transmission.
Condoms, medication, and abstinence during outbreaks can reduce risk for herpes transmission.
You can read all about herpes elsewhere on this blog, but heres a quick rundown: Genital herpes 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 6 Americans between 14 to 49 years of age has a genital HSV-2 infection. Since genital herpes infections can also be caused by HSV-1, the number of people with genital herpes is actually higher.
Abstinence During Outbreaks
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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?
First Off What Is Herpes
Herpes, also known as the herpes simplex virus is a common virus that is transmitted via skin-to-skin contact. There are two main strains of herpes: herpes simplex virus type one and herpes simplex virus type two . HSV1 is most often transmitted via oral contact and can cause oral blister outbreaks in and around the mouth area. These are commonly known as cold sores. HSV1 rarely is spread to the genital area, but it is possible.
HSV2 is spread through sexual contact only. It is the strain responsible for outbreaks in and around the groin area. These are called genital herpes.
While there is no cure for herpes, the treatments that are available may shorten and prevent outbreaks. According to the World Health Organization, HSV2 genital herpes infections often have little to no symptoms and can go widely unrecognized.
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How Genital Herpes Can Affect Your Pregnancy
If you have genital herpes, its possible to spread the virus to your baby. A woman can spread it to her baby while she is:
Taking care of her newborn
If the baby gets the virus while in the womb, the mother may have a miscarriage or deliver the baby too early, causing the baby to be premature.
When the baby catches the virus during birth or shortly thereafter, this can be deadly for the baby. Be sure your OB/GYN knows that you have genital herpes so that precautions can be taken.
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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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How Much Time Does It Take For Valacyclovir To Work
Valacyclovir is not the complete cure for genital herpes. It is possible that while using Valacyclovir, you may experience shedding, and lesions may occur. While Valacyclovir can reduce the outbreaks, there is still a risk of transmission. If your partner is experiencing a herpes outbreak, you must avoid getting sexual. Moreover, asymptomatic shedding is difficult to detect, so you should use condoms consistently to minimize the risks.
Can I Still Have Sex If I Have Herpes
If you have herpes, you should talk to your sex partner and let him or her know that you do and the risk involved. Using condoms may help lower this risk but it will not get rid of the risk completely. Having sores or other symptoms of herpes can increase your risk of spreading the disease. Even if you do not have any symptoms, you can still infect your sex partners.
You may have concerns about how genital herpes will impact your overall health, sex life, and relationships. It is best for you to talk to a health care provider about those concerns, but it also is important to recognize that while herpes is not curable, it can be managed with medication. Daily suppressive therapy for herpes can also lower your risk of spreading genital herpes to your sex partner. Be sure to discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider. Since a genital herpes diagnosis may affect how you will feel about current or future sexual relationships, it is important to understand how to talk to sexual partners about STDsexternal icon.
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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.
Is It Safe To Breastfeed If I Have Genital Herpes
Yes- as long as there is no open lesion on 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.
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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Getting Genital Herpes
If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting genital herpes:
- Be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who is not infected with an STD
- Using latex condoms the right way every time you have sex.
Be aware that not all herpes sores occur in areas that are covered by a latex condom. Also, herpes virus can be released from areas of the skin that do not have a visible herpes sore. For these reasons, condoms may not fully protect you from getting herpes.
If you are in a relationship with a person known to have genital herpes, you can lower your risk of getting genital herpes if:
- Your partner takes an anti-herpes medication every day. This is something your partner should discuss with his or her doctor.
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Lowering Partner Transmission Risks
Itâs entirely possible to enjoy sex and date around, while also managing your herpes condition. Youâve just got to pivot a little bit to make room for new considerations. Whoâs a stranger to a little course correction, eh?
Here are 3 of the best ways to lower the risk of passing herpes to your new partner.
â#1. Use condoms or dental dams even if you arenât having an outbreak.
âDoctors agree condoms are probably the best way to prevent herpes. Even if you arenât experiencing an HSV1 or HSV2 outbreak, you can still transmit the virus via asymptomatic shedding. So itâs best to use condoms at all times to lower your risks of partner-to-partner transmission.
â#2. Consider the use of suppressive therapy to lessen the recurrence of outbreaks and transmission risks.
âThere are studies that suggest the use of antiviral drugs as a suppressive therapy may lower recurrences and lower the risks of partner-to-partner transmission. The CDC states that suppressive therapy can lower recurrences by 70-80 percent.
âCombine #1 and #2 to cover your bases With the use of antiviral suppressive therapy and condoms combined, your chances of transmitting the herpes virus to your partner are pretty low.
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What You Need To Know
- Herpes simplex virus , also known as genital herpes, is most likely to be spread when an infected person is having an outbreak, but it can also be transmitted without any symptoms being present.
- Medications can help reduce your symptoms, speed up the healing of an outbreak and make you less contagious.
- If you know you have genital herpes before becoming pregnant, your physician will monitor your condition throughout your pregnancy. If you have an active outbreak at the time of delivery, cesarean section may be recommended.
Is Genital Herpes Related To Shingles
Shingles, also called herpes zoster, is caused by the varicella zoster virus , which causes chickenpox earlier in life. The natural history of varicella zoster infection is similar to genital herpes infection in that VZV also becomes latent in the sensory nerve roots. Later in life the virus may exit, causing shingles.
Recurrences in shingles cause blister lesions in a single area of skin called a dermatome. Shingles is not a sexually transmitted infection and is independent from genital herpes.
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Support And Advice For Genital Herpes
If you have just found out you have genital herpes, you may feel shocked and may have a lot of questions. It may help you to gather as much information as you can about herpes. This can help you to make fully informed decisions about your treatment, safe sex and preventing further recurrences. Talking to a counsellor about your concerns may also help.
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Myth #: Herpes Can Affect Your Fertility
Herpes has no impact on fertility, says Hawkins however, people may be confused because there can be an issue with herpes when it comes to pregnancy. âIf someone is pregnant and gets an outbreak close to when shes going to deliver a baby, that could be problematic,â she says. In very rare cases, the outbreak can be transmitted to the baby during birth this is called neonatal herpes and the condition is potentially deadly. In such a situation, doctors may recommend a cesarean to protect the baby from infection.
How Can I Avoid Spreading Herpes
Once you catch herpes, you will always have the virus. This doesnt mean that you are always contagious, however. Most of the time the virus will lie dormant underneath your skin. Some people only ever get one outbreak, others might get it from time to time. Its also possible to never know you have it.
You can avoid spreading herpes by:
- Always wearing a condom
- Avoiding sex while you have a herpes outbreak
- Taking medication to prevent herpes outbreaks
Its advised to wear a condom to prevent catching any other STIs, as its possible to have more than one.
Some Important Facts Affecting The Risk Of Herpes Transmission
- Herpes is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact
- The first outbreak is the most contagious
- There is a greater statistical chance of passing herpes when youâve been recently diagnosed whether you have symptoms or not
- Herpes infects skin areas that are thin and moist because itâs easier for the virus to penetrate those areas. For that reason, females are three times more likely to be infected than males
- Younger people having casual sex are more likely to contract herpes
- HSV-1 in the genital area recurs less often than HSV-2
- Being positive for HSV-2 gives some protection against getting HSV-1. The opposite is not true
- If a person with one type of herpes acquires a different type, the flare-up symptoms are milder
- Sex toys should not be shared. But if they are shared, they should be cleaned with water and soap before being used
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My Boyfriend Is Worried I’ll 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.
What Is The Chance Of Spreading Herpes To My Partner
It varies whether you are a man or a woman. In either case, the risk of spreading herpes to a partner is very, very small if you abstain from contact with the affected area during outbreaks.
For a woman with HSV-2 genital herpes, the chance of spreading the virus to a man if they abstain from having sex during outbreaks is approximately 4% in a year. For a man with HSV-2 genital herpes, the chance of passing the virus onto a female partner if they abstain from sex during outbreaks is close to 10% in a year. Read mor facts about whats your risk of spreading herpes?.
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Talk To Your Doctor About Antiviral Medications
There are two brands of antiviral medications available to treat herpes. Either can be used to take daily as a suppressive therapy or episodically when there is an outbreak. Discuss with your doctor how often you are experiencing outbreaks and your symptoms. Together you can decide which, if any, medication is best for you.