Asymptomatic Shedding Of Herpes Virus
Intermittent shedding of HSV from genital skin may occur without symptoms or with unrecognised minor symptoms. The frequency of asymptomatic shedding is more common in those with type 2 genital herpes and in those who have been infected recently. Shedding is most likely to occur in the week before or after a recurrence.
The amount shed from active lesions is much greater than between episodes. This is when the infection is most likely to be passed on, and sexual contact should, therefore, be avoided. One study of couples who avoided sexual contact during recurrences found that, over 12 months, only 1 out of 10 passed the virus on to their partner. In that study, condoms were not used. Using condoms may reduce the risk of infection even further.
The Virus And Pathogenesis
HSV is a double-stranded DNA virus that may enter the host through abraded skin or intact mucous membranes.1 Epithelial cells are the initial targets. Once infected, these cells die, releasing clear fluid intradermally to form vesicles and merging with other cells to create multinucleated giant cells.
Retrograde transport through adjacent neural tissue to sensory ganglia leads to lifelong latent infection.1 Reactivation of the virus is triggered by local or systemic stimuli such as immunodeficiency, trauma, fever, menstruation, ultraviolet light and sexual intercourse.13 Although emotional stress is assumed to trigger HSV recurrence, recent research fails to show a definite causative role.4 Once reactivated, the virus is transported by the neuron back to the epithelium, where more replication occurs, and another outbreak ensues.
HSV exists as two separate types, labeled 1 and 2, which have affinities for different body sites.2 Ninety percent of infections caused by HSV-2 are genital, and 90 percent of those caused by HSV-1 are oral the reason for this division is unknown.5 In addition, oral HSV-1 infection recurs more frequently than oral HSV-2, and genital HSV-2 recurs more often than genital HSV-1.
Risk For Genital Herpes
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , about 1 in 6 Americans ages 14 to 49 years have genital herpes. While HSV-2 remains the main cause of genital herpes, HSV-1 has significantly increased as a cause, most likely because of oral-genital sex. Except for people in monogamous relationships with uninfected partners, everyone who is sexually active is at risk for genital herpes.
Risk factors for genital herpes include:
- History of an STD
- First sexual intercourse at an early age
- High number of sexual partners
- Low socioeconomic status
Women are more susceptible to HSV-2 infection because herpes is more easily transmitted from men to women than from women to men. About 1 in 5 women, compared to 1 in 9 men, have genital herpes. African-American women are at particularly high risk.
People with compromised immune systems, such as those who have HIV, are at very high risk for genital herpes. These people are also at risk for more severe complications from herpes. Drugs that suppress the immune system, and organ transplantation, can also weaken the immune system and increase the risk for contracting genital herpes.
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How Often Can Genital Herpes Come Back
Some people get no further episodes, while a few get frequent recurrences. If you do, you could ask your doctor for antiviral pills to prevent outbreaks see antiviral treatment, or you can try self-help treatments. There are two pages of suggestions on our Tips to prevent recurrences leaflet. It is available to members. Outbreaks normally decline in frequency and severity over time.
How Do You Know If You Have Genital Herpes
The only way to know if you have genital herpes is by amedical exam. Your health care provider can examineyou and test for it. Lab samples are taken from a sore,blister, or blood. Your health care provider may ask totest you for other infections at the same time.
Tell current and most recent sex partners of your herpes infection.
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What Are Herpes Recurrences And How Likely Are They
Recurrences are repeat symptoms which appear at or close to the place where the infection was first noticed. These are often fairly minor and may be no more than a small spot that heals in a few days. They may be accompanied by sensations itches or nerve twinges. They are unlikely to be as severe as first symptoms and may be almost unnoticed.
What Is Herpes Simplex
Herpes simplex is one of the most frequent infections of mankind throughout the world. There are two main types of herpes simplex virus type 1, which is mainly associated with facial infections and type 2, which is mainly genital, although there is considerable overlap.
Both type 1 and type 2 herpes simplex viruses reside in a latent state in the nerves that supply sensation to the skin. With each episode of herpes simplex, the virus grows down the nerves and out into the skin or mucous membranes where it multiplies, causing the clinical lesion. After each episode, it dies back up the nerve fibre and enters the resting state again.
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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.
Prevention Of Genital Herpes
The best protection against STIs is to always use barrier protection such as condoms, female condoms and dams . Because herpes is spread by skin-to-skin contact, condoms will reduce the risk of transmission, but it will not protect sexual partners completely as condoms do not cover the entire genitals.
Using lubricant with a condom during sex will also reduce the risk of trauma to the genital skin. This has been shown to reduce HSV transmission, especially in the first six months of a sexual relationship. Silicone-based lubricants are recommended.
Remember that herpes transmission can occur when symptoms are present , but may also occur even if there are no genital symptoms through asymptomatic viral shedding.
For people who have frequent episodes of genital herpes, antiviral medication, taken daily, helps to reduce transmission of herpes to a sexual partner.
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The Difference Between Symptoms And Side Effects
Medically speaking, a side effect is different from a symptom.
A symptom is a noticeable change in the body that indicates the presence of disease or dysfunction. Fever, cough and headache are all examples of symptoms of the flu.
A side effect, on the other hand, is a secondary, undesired negative effect usually from a treatment or medication. For example, chemotherapy drugs are intended to kill cancer cells. That’s their desired effect. But many chemotherapy patients lose their hair. This is a side effect of the chemotherapy. It’s not the reason patients take the medication, but it occurs nonetheless.
Below, we’ll look at both symptoms and side effects. We’ll discuss some common symptoms of genital herpes, possible social side effects of genital herpes, and the most common side effects of genital herpes treatments.
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What Percentage Of The Population Has Herpes
What percentage of the population has herpes? More than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 about 67 percent of the global population are infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 , according to a new report from the World Health Organization.
- HSV-2 infection is more common in women than in men (almost 1 out of 9.
- HSV-2 infection is also more common in blacks than in whites
- Genital herpes is common in the United States. More than one out of every six people aged 14 to 49 years have genital herpes.
Stds Are Treatable In Nearly Every Man And Woman
At New York Urology Specialists, our urologists are specially trained in the evaluation and treatment of sexually transmitted infections . We understand the challenges that STDs such as chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, and ureaplasma create for our patients, their relationships, and their self-esteem. We help you find an effective treatment for your symptoms that may be caused by STD, UTI or another cause.
Urologists are doctors specializing in the treatment of infections in men and women caused by sexually transmitted diseases as well as bladder infections . By the virtue of our experience and skill, we are able to offer an effective treatment option for nearly every man and woman with urinary problems and bladder control problems.
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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.
Herpes And Newborn Infants
Herpes infection in a newborn can cause a range of symptoms, including skin rash, fevers, mouth sores, and eye infections. If left untreated, neonatal herpes is a very serious and even life-threatening condition. Neonatal herpes can spread to the brain and central nervous system, causing encephalitis and meningitis. It also can lead to intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, and death. Herpes can also spread to internal organs, such as the liver and lungs.
Infants infected with herpes are treated with acyclovir, an antiviral drug. They usually receive several weeks of intravenous acyclovir treatment, often followed by several months of oral acyclovir. It is important to treat babies quickly, before the infection spreads to the brain and other organs.
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Hiv And Genital Herpes
Having HIV puts a person at greater risk of contracting genital herpes, and having genital herpes puts a person at greater risk of contracting HIV.
Immunocompromised people often experience longer and more severe genital herpes outbreaks, and have increased herpes virus shedding . The open sores caused by herpes make transmission of both HIV and the herpes simplex virus more likely .
It’s estimated that people with genital herpes are three times more likely to contract HIV when exposed .
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.
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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?
It Might Be More Challenging To Find Partners
Hopefully this will become less true as more people become educated about genital herpes. But for now, having the facts about genital herpes can help you talk more openly with potential sexual partners.
Though it can be daunting and awkward, it’s important to disclose your genital herpes diagnosis to a new potential sexual partner. And sometimes learning more about the disease can help to lessen their fear.
For instance, one helpful study shows that if an infected person takes daily valacyclovir as a preventative, they have a less than 2% chance of spreading HSV-2 to a sexual partner.
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Symptoms Of Genital Herpes In Females
Getting a menstrual period can cause an outbreak of genital herpes.
Also, a person may mistake the symptoms of genital herpes for those of a yeast infection or bladder infection.
Genital herpes can spread in the following ways:
- receiving oral sex from a partner with a cold sore
- touching a herpes sore, then touching the genitals
- a baby can contract genital herpes during birth if the mother has the virus
People can sexually transmit the virus even if they have no visible symptoms.
It is not possible to contract genital herpes from toilet seats, bedding, swimming pools, or touching other objects. The virus can only spread from human-to-human contact.
What Can I Do To Stop A Herpesoutbreak From Getting Worse
Unfortunately,once youve contracted herpes, it will have the virus for life. Therefore, youmay never be able to get rid of herpes forever. However, there are preventativemeasures you can take. These can help speed healing and reduce the number ofyour outbreaks. They can also help to relieve the severity of your symptoms.Keep these tips in mind:
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Myth #: People Cannot Spread Herpes To Others Unless They Have Sores Or Blisters
Fact: People can spread herpes to others at any time, including when they do not have any symptoms.
People with herpes may experience outbreaks and remissions. During an outbreak, a person has active sores or blisters, but in remission, they may have no symptoms at all.
The virus is usually more contagious when a person has an outbreak, but it can also spread when it is in remission.
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Recurring Episodes Of Symptoms
After the first episode, further episodes of symptoms occur in some people from time to time. This is called recurrent infection. It is not clear why the dormant virus erupts from time to time. Recurrences tend to be less severe and shorter than the first episode. It is more usual to have 7-10 days of symptoms with a recurrence, unlike the longer phase of symptoms that may occur during the first episode. Most people do not develop a fever and do not feel particularly unwell during a recurrence. A tingling or itch in your genital area for 12-24 hours may indicate a recurrence is starting. The time period between recurrences is variable.
Recurrences tend to become less frequent over time. In people who have recurrences, their frequency can vary greatly. Some people have six or more a year. For others it is less frequent than this. On average, people tend to have 1 to 4 recurrences per year during the first two years after the first episode. Some people do not have recurrences at all after a first episode of symptoms. Some people can identify some things that may trigger a recurrence. Such triggers include sunlight, physical illness, excess alcohol, or stress. If you can identify a trigger, it may be helpful to try to avoid this in the future, if possible.
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Episodic Therapy For Recurrences
For a recurrent episode, treatment takes 1 to 5 days, depending on the type of medication and dosage. You should begin the medication as soon as you notice any signs or symptoms of herpes, preferably during the prodrome stage that precedes the outbreak of lesions.
In order for episodic therapy to be effective, it must be taken no later than 1 day after a lesion appears. If taken during prodrome, episodic therapy may help prevent an outbreak from occurring or reduce its severity. If taken at the first sign of a lesion, it can help speed healing.
Where To Get Tested For Herpes In Nyc
At New York Urology Specialists, we offer same-day Herpes testing and treatment for men and women.
We also perform comprehensive STD testing for other infections. We offer confidential appointments. Our prices are affordable with or without insurance. Call/text today: or make an appointment online.
Schedule an appointment with our specialists at New York Urology Specialists today about managing genital herpes and preventing its spread to sexual partners. Our offices are located no more than 20 minutes by train or car from any location in the Bronx, and we are easily accessible from all other New York City boroughs.
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It Is Common Not To Develop Any Symptoms
Most people never develop any symptoms when they are infected with the virus. At least 8 in 10 people with genital herpes simplex virus do not know that they are infected. In such people, the virus stays inactive in the root of a nerve that supplies the genitals, but never causes recurrent episodes of symptoms. However, even people who do not develop symptoms may, on occasions, have virus in their genital area and therefore be infectious to sexual partners. In fact, this is how many genital herpes simplex infections are passed on.