Tuesday, September 27, 2022

How You Know You Have Herpes

How Common Is Genital Herpes

How Common Is Herpes Really? | Report Card | RIOT

Genital herpes infection is common in the United States. CDC estimated that there were 572,000 new genital herpes infections in the United States in a single year.1 Nationwide, 11.9 % of persons aged 14 to 49 years have HSV-2 infection .2 However, the prevalence of genital herpes infection is higher than that because an increasing number of genital herpes infections are caused by HSV-1. 3 Oral HSV-1 infection is typically acquired in childhood because the prevalence of oral HSV-1 infection has declined in recent decades, people may have become more susceptible to contracting a genital herpes infection from HSV-1. 4

HSV-2 infection is more common among women than among men the percentages of those infected during 2015-2016 were 15.9% versus 8.2% respectively, among 14 to 49 year olds. 2 This is possibly because genital infection is more easily transmitted from men to women than from women to men during penile-vaginal sex. 5 HSV-2 infection is more common among non-Hispanic blacks than among non-Hispanic whites . 2 A previous analysis found that these disparities, exist even among persons with similar numbers of lifetime sexual partners. Most infected persons may be unaware of their infection in the United States, an estimated 87.4% of 14 to 49 year olds infected with HSV-2 have never received a clinical diagnosis. 6

The age-adjusted percentage of persons in the United States infected with HSV-2 decreased from 18.0% in 19992000 to 12.1% in 2015-2016. 2

How Do People Get Genital Herpes

Infections are transmitted through contact with HSV in herpes lesions, mucosal surfaces, genital secretions, or oral secretions. 5 HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be shed from normal-appearing oral or genital mucosa or skin. 7,8 Generally, a person can only get HSV-2 infection during genital contact with someone who has a genital HSV-2 infection. However, receiving oral sex from a person with an oral HSV-1 infection can result in getting a genital HSV-1 infection. 4 Transmission commonly occurs from contact with an infected partner who does not have visible lesions and who may not know that he or she is infected. 7 In persons with asymptomatic HSV-2 infections, genital HSV shedding occurs on 10.2% of days, compared to 20.1% of days among those with symptomatic infections. 8

Myth: Herpes Is A Rare Condition

First and foremost, make it clear that herpes is a very prevalent virus.

The WHO estimates that 491 million people aged 15-49 have genital herpes worldwide. In the United States alone, the ratio of people with genital herpes is one out of every six aged 14 to 49.

Additionally, two-thirds of the world population under 50 is infected with oral herpes . That equals more than 3.7 billion people!

Despite its prevalence, there is a stigma associated with a herpes infection, probably in large part because it is sexually transmitted and incurable.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Herpes Simplex

Many people with the infection never experience any herpes symptoms. If you do notice symptoms, youll experience them differently depending on whether youre having your first herpes outbreak or a repeat outbreak. Recurring symptoms are usually milder than the first outbreak. Symptoms dont last as long with later outbreaks. Some people may only have one or two outbreaks during their lifetime. Others may have as many as four or five outbreaks a year.

People who do have herpes symptoms may experience:

  • Cold sores around their lips, mouth or tongue. They may look crusty or like fluid-filled blisters.
  • Tingling, itching or burning.
  • Pain while urinating.

Questions To Ask Your Doctor

Herpes Facts Everyone Should Know
  • What is the best treatment for me?
  • Are there any side effects to my treatment?
  • Is it safe to have unprotected sex if I dont have any sores?
  • Can I give myself genital herpes if I also have oral herpes?
  • Can I give someone else herpes even if Im not having an outbreak?
  • What is the best way to prevent herpes outbreaks?
  • Can I live a normal life with herpes?
  • Am I at risk of developing any other diseases?
  • Are there any support groups in my area?
  • If I give my baby herpes, what is the treatment?

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Who Response To Herpes

As well as increasing awareness about HSV infection and its symptoms, improved access to antiviral medications and heightened HIV prevention efforts for those with genital HSV symptoms are needed globally.

In addition, development of better treatment and prevention interventions is needed, particularly HSV vaccines. WHO and partners are working to accelerate research to develop new strategies for prevention and control of genital and neonatal HSV-1 and HSV-2 infections. Such research includes the development of HSV vaccines and topical microbicides. Several candidate vaccines and microbicides are currently being studied.

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Tips To Soothe The Pain

  • Take aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen .
  • Place lukewarm or cool cloths on the sore place.
  • Take lukewarm baths.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • What is the best treatment for me?
  • Are there any side effects to my treatment?
  • Is it safe to have unprotected sex if I dont have any sores?
  • Can I give myself genital herpes if I also have oral herpes?
  • Can I give someone else herpes even if Im not having an outbreak?
  • What is the best way to prevent herpes outbreaks?
  • Can I live a normal life with herpes?
  • Am I at risk of developing any other diseases?
  • Are there any support groups in my area?
  • If I give my baby herpes, what is the treatment?

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So How Do I Know If I Have Herpes

Regardless of what the common symptoms may be and whether you experience them, you cant tell if you have herpes based on the way you look or feel. The only way to know for sure if you have herpes is to get tested and get tested often. Always know your status, the status of your partners, and practice safer sex.

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Who Might Get Genital Herpes

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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, including dental dams.

Women are more at risk. Delicate vaginal tissue can tear, making it easier for the infection to get in. Black women are especially vulnerable. An estimated 1 in 2 Black women between the ages of 14 and 49 is infected with HSV-2, the virus that causes genital herpes.

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How Is Herpes Simplex Treated

Some people have few to no herpes outbreaks and choose not to have treatment. But many people prefer to use medications that shorten outbreaks and reduce symptoms.

During an outbreak, you may use an antiviral ointment or cream to help lessen your symptoms and help them go away faster, but it only works if you start it soon after you start an outbreak. Many people with HSV-2 take daily oral medications to keep outbreaks at bay.

Your provider may prescribe a topical medication or oral medication such as:

What Are The Different Types Of Herpes

There are two types of herpes simplex virus: HSV I and HSV II. HSV I commonly causes oral herpes, or cold sores. This virus can show up as an upper respiratory tract infection during early childhood. HSV II is the cause of most cases of genital herpes. However, it is possible for HSV I to cause genital herpes and HSV II to cause oral herpes.

Clinicians cannot tell the difference between the two types by physical examination alone, but there are differences between the two viruses. For example, genital herpes caused by HSV II is much more likely to recur. This diagnosis can be helpful in establishing a health care plan.

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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 Alzheimers Disease Related To Hsv

Does look like herpes??

Alzheimers disease is a progressive brain disease that develops as a result of a complex series of events occurring in the brain over a long period of time. The causes of Alzheimers disease may include genetic, environmental, and other factors. Several different factors have been statistically linked to Alzheimers disease, including HSV-1 infection. However, some investigations suggest that viruses other than HSV-1 may influence Alzheimers disease. More research is needed to determine whether or not there is a causal link between HSV-1 infection and Alzheimers disease.

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Tingling Or Pain Before Blisters Form

If you know you’ve been exposed to herpes, you may want to watch for “prodromal” symptoms. “About 50% of people will have symptoms such as itching, tingling, or pain on genital skin before blisters or sores appear,” said Dr. Shim. Usually, you’ll experience an outbreak later, but it’s possible to have this tingling or itching and have no sores emerge.

Can Genital Herpes Be Prevented

The only sure way to keep from getting genital herpesor any other sexually transmitted infection is to not have sex. If you do have sex, practice safer sex.

  • Before you start a sexual relationship, talk with your partner about STIs. Find out whether he or she is at risk for them. Remember that a person can be infected without knowing it.
  • If you have symptoms of an STI, dont have sex.
  • Dont have sex with anyone who has symptoms or who may have been exposed to an STI.
  • Dont have more than one sexual relationship at a time. Having several sex partners increases your risk for infection.
  • Use condoms. Condom use lowers the risk of spreading or becoming infected with an STI.
  • Dont receive oral sex from partners who have cold sores.

Taking medicine for herpes may lower the number of outbreaks you have and can also prevent an episode from getting worse. It also lower the chances that you will infect your partner.

If you are pregnant, you should take extra care to avoid getting infected. You could pass the infection to your baby during delivery, which can cause serious problems for your newborn. If you have an outbreak near your due date, you probably will need to have your baby by cesarean section. If your genital herpes outbreaks return again and again, your doctor may talk to you about medicines that can help prevent an outbreak during pregnancy.

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Can I Get Tested For Genital Herpes

Yes, if you think you have symptoms of genital herpes or have been at risk of infection, you should speak to a healthcare worker.

There are different tests available. If you have symptoms, the most common test is to take a swab from a blister. The fluid can be tested for the herpes simplex virus.Some places may also offer blood tests to check for antibodies to the virus, but these are often not routinely available, so ask a healthcare worker if youre unsure.

If you have genital herpes you should be tested for other STIs.

Its also advised that you tell your recent sexual partner/s so they can also get tested and treated. Many people who have genital herpes do not notice anything wrong, and by telling them you can help to stop the virus being passed on.

Support And Advice For Genital Herpes

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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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If You Have Genital Herpes Already Can It Be Spread To Other Parts Of The Body Such As The Arms Or Legs

No. Genital herpes cannot be transmitted to another part of your body such as your arm, leg or hand after the first infection occurs. If you have genital HSV II, you will not get HSV II at another site in your body. The immune system produces antibodies that protect other parts of your body from infection. However, there are cases where a person has multiple site infections from the same virus. This is usually acquired at the time of the first infection. For example, if someone has never had herpes but then has oral and genital sex with an infected partner, they can acquire the infection at both sites.

Should I Talk To A Doctor About It

Now that you have a broad idea of how to differentiate a genital herpes ulcer from other commonly encountered conditions, you should consult your doctor when you suspect genital herpes for the first time. The first episode of herpes can have more noticeable symptoms than recurrences later will and it will be less difficult to ensure that the prognosis is benign and rule out more harmful conditions.

Herpes is still a condition often associated with anxiety, fear, and shame. Your healthcare provider can talk to you about your feelings in that regard and give you support and guidance.

With any genital condition, it is important to have the correct diagnosis made by your doctor, who will use laboratory tests for confirmation to establish a proper management plan.

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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.

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How Are Genital Herpes Diagnosed

9 Things to Know About Living with Herpes, From Someone Who Has It ...

Other STIs, like syphilis, cause similar symptoms. In addition to a physical exam, your healthcare provider will take a fluid sample from the blisters to test for the herpes virus. If your blisters are healed or you dont have blisters, a blood test can check for HSV-2 antibody, a marker that shows you have been exposed to the virus.

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Understanding Herpes With H Hunter Handsfield Md

Herpes expert H. Hunter Handsfield, MD, explains the basics about genital herpes, including the difference between genital HSV-1 and HSV-2 infection, testing options and the importance of knowing virus type, and the three-prong strategy for prevention. See more herpes videos at sexualhealthTV.com.

Have a question about herpes youd like Dr. Handsfield or our other experts to answer? Visit our Ask the Experts page to learn how.

What Complications Are Connected With An Untreated Genital Herpes Infection

Just as there are health risks associated with untreated chlamydia in men and women, there are also risks connected with untreated herpesâeven in asymptomatic patients. Not only does the infection increase your likelihood of contracting and transmitting other STDs, but it can also lead to:

  • Difficulty urinating, due to inflammation of the urethra

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When To See A Doctor

People who are sexually active should see a doctor regularly to undergo screenings for sexually transmitted infections .

A person who suspects that they may have come into contact with herpes should see a doctor to get a test.

A person should also see a doctor if they experience any symptoms of genital or oral herpes. A doctor can confirm a diagnosis and discuss the treatment options.

If someone who has genital herpes becomes pregnant, they should see a healthcare provider to prevent passing the virus to the baby.

It is possible for pregnant people with genital herpes to deliver a baby safely, but a doctor needs to be aware of the situation to do this effectively.

Can I Breastfeed If I Have Genital Herpes

How Contagious is Herpes?

Yes, you can breastfeed if you have genital herpes, but not if you have a herpes sore on one of your breasts. If you have genital herpes, it is possible to spread the infection to any part of your breast, including your nipple and areola.

If you have any genital herpes sores on one or both of your breasts:

  • You can keep breastfeeding as long as your baby or pumping equipment does not touch a herpes sore.
  • Do not breastfeed from the breast with sores. Herpes is spread through contact with sores and can be dangerous to a newborn baby.
  • Pump or hand-express your milk from the breast with sores until the sores heal. Pumping will help keep up your milk supply and prevent your breast from getting overly full and painful. You can store your milk to give to your baby in a bottle for another feeding. But if parts of your pump also touch the sore while pumping, throw the milk away.

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