Friday, February 3, 2023

What Can You Do For Genital Herpes

Do I Have To Tell Someone I Have Herpes

What You Need to Know About Genital Herpes

Is it Illegal to not tell someone you have Herpes? No, it is not illegal to not tell someone you have herpes. However, if you are in an intimate relationship with someone, it is best to let your partner know that you have an STD. This will allow you both to take precautions to minimize the spread of the STD.

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.

Herpes Symptoms And Signs

In order to diagnose herpes, a health care provider can swab an area of visibly active herpes infection or, if symptoms arent active, a blood test can be given that measures the number of herpes antibodies present in the body. The antibodies dont indicate herpes itself, but rather show the immune systems response to the presence of the virus in the body. Its important to note that sometimes a swab can give false negative results since herpes lesions need to be large enough to yield enough detectable virus and if the outbreak is already healing it also may not be detected in a swab.

The most common herpes symptoms include:

  • Developing either a single cold sore or cluster of multiple cold sores that form on the lips, inside the mouth, or on the genitals, buttocks and upper thighs.
  • Sores can sometimes be severe, painful and rupture and cause fluid to be secreted out.
  • Some herpes canker sores develop a thin, white coating and burn when touched while they healing.
  • Around herpes cold sores, its common to feel pain, tenderness and other symptoms of a rash, such as redness or signs of swelling.
  • Some people are able to tell before an outbreak if one is going to occur because they feel tingling, itchy sensations near the affected area.
  • Some people develop other symptoms during herpes outbreaks that are similar to those caused by a cold or the flu. This may include fatigue, irritability, aches or a slight fever.

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What Is Life Like For Someone Who Has Genital Herpes

The virus that causes genital herpes stays inside your body forever. While many people carry this virus, some dont know that they have it because they never have an outbreak.

If you have an outbreak, taking an antiviral medicine can shorten the outbreak and relieve symptoms. Some people have several outbreaks. For most people, the outbreaks become less severe and occur less often with time.

Anyone who has been infected with the virus, however, can spread the virus to others during sex. Even if you never have an outbreak, you can still spread the virus.

Related AAD resources

Centers for Disease Control. Genital Herpes CDC Fact Sheet . Last accessed December 19, 2016.

Fatahzadeh M and Schwartz RA. Human herpes simplex virus infections: Epidemiology, pathogenesis, symptomatology, diagnosis, and management. J Am Acad Dermatol 2007 57:737-63.

Madkan V Sra K, et al. Human herpesviruses. In: Bolognia JL, et al. Dermatology. . Mosby Elsevier, Spain, 2008:1075-6.

Marques AR, Straus SE, Herpes simplex. In: Wolff K, Goldsmith LA, et al. Fitzpatricks Dermatology in General Medicine . McGraw Hill Medical, New York, 2008: 1199-1204.

US Preventive Task Force. Serologic screening for genital herpes infection: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. JAMA. 2016 316:2525-30.

Black Americans And Genital Herpes

GRAPHIC IMAGES

The NHANES survey found that the age-adjusted prevalence for the HSV-2, the virus that causes most genital herpes, was 34.6 for Black Americans, compared with 8.1 percent for white Americans.

Black Americans are also less likely to be diagnosed with genital herpes, even after accounting for socio-demographic factors such as education and income or health insurance. Lack of diagnosis likely contributes to ongoing transmission of the virus at a higher rate than for white or Hispanic Americans.

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How To Recognize Genital Herpes

Overview

Genital herpes is a very common sexually transmitted disease . It is so common that many people, when they find any skin lesion around the genital areas, are likely to think that it is herpes. They are not entirely wrong to think that way. Genital herpes is the main cause of genital ulcers worldwide.1 And the condition is usually associated with a stigma that can itself cause anxiety and even depression2 and might influence the affected personâs decision to disclose the infection to others or seek care.3

A genital sore is not great news regardless of what is causing it. However, many other conditions causing genital sores have a prognosis different from that of herpes. Some can be worse, but others, unlike herpes,4 can be completely cured. Thatâs why weâre beginning this article with an explanation of how to recognize genital herpes and differentiate it from other genital skin lesions.

A sleeping virus

The herpes virus is known for staying âasleepâ in the body for a long time without showing symptoms. This feature is called latency: once the virus infects a person, after an initial phase that does not necessarily manifest with symptoms, it remains hidden in the body for many years, reactivating every now and then.4 Its reactivation is usually triggered by weakness of the immune system, such as in times of sustained stress, accumulated fatigue, heavy physical activity, or fever, but may not have any apparent cause.5, 6

Herpes skin lesions

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 Urgent Is A Post

Start post-exposure treatment for genital herpes immediately after symptoms begin to appear. Antiviral medications can help reduce the severity and duration of symptoms while also reducing the risk of transmission to sexual partners.

Swab testing is most likely to detect HSV when completed with 72 hours of symptoms first appearing. Meaning, if you suspect you are experiencing symptoms, see a healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.

Be sure to let your healthcare provider know that you may have had exposure to genital herpes.

While there is no specific deadline to get treated for genital herpes, upon being diagnosed, your doctor can prescribe antiviral medications that can help shorten the length and severity of the outbreak. â

Testing For Genital Herpes

Herpes (oral & genital) – causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology

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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If I Already Have Herpes How Can I Keep From Giving It To Someone Else

You can do several things to keep from spreading genital herpes:

  • Consider sexual abstinence .

  • Don’t have any kind of sex when you have herpes sores, itching or scabs. And remember that you can spread genital herpes even when you have no sign of a sore.

  • Always use condoms when you have sex.

  • Always wash your hands right after touching your genital area, even if you have no sores.

Is Herpes Simplex Related To Herpes Zoster

Herpes simplex and the varicella-zoster virus are related, but they arent the same. VZV causes chickenpox and shingles.

Like HSV-1 and HSV-2, shingles can cause a painful, blistering rash. The shingles rash usually shows up on the back, side, abdomen , neck and face. It is often only on half of your body, following the pattern of your nerves. See your healthcare provider if you have a new rash and suspect you may have shingles.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Herpes simplex is a virus. Once you have herpes, its a lifelong condition. A herpes infection can lead to outbreaks , but youll also have times when you have no symptoms. The main sign of herpes is sores that appear on the infected skin. Some people choose not to treat herpes, especially if symptoms are mild. Others take antiviral medications to reduce the severity and frequency of outbreaks.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/17/2022.

References

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When And How Are Later Outbreaks Treated

Later outbreaks with only mild symptoms dont necessarily need to be treated. The blisters can then simply heal on their own.

But antiviral medication can also shorten the duration of later outbreaks by an average of about two days. If you decide to have treatment, its important to start it within the first 24 hours of the outbreak ideally, as soon as you notice the first symptoms. So its a good idea to always have a few tablets at home or to take them with you when you travel so they are ready to use. You can get a prescription from your doctor.

In later outbreaks you can take them for a shorter time. The WHO recommends the following:

  • aciclovir: 400 mg three times per day or 800 mg two times per day for five days, or 800 mg three times per day for two days,
  • famciclovir: 250 mg two times per day for five days, or
  • valaciclovir: 500 mg two times per day for three days.

A different dose and treatment duration may be a good idea for people who have immune system disorders, such as an HIV infection.

Genital Herpes Treatment To Reduce Itching And Pain In The Infected Area

Help! Is this herpes? Blister outbreak

Genital herpes, also called herpes, is a viral infection caused by herpes simplex viruses .

Two types of viruses are associated with genital herpes: HSV-1 and HSV-2.

It is found that one out of every five in the United States is infected with genital herpes.

More than 45 million Americans are affected with genital herpes.

Currently, you have no genital herpes treatment available to cure the disease.

However, home remedies can heal the herpes symptoms and improves your immune system to prevent the re-emergence of the disease.

On the other hand, there are antiviral medications to treat the disease. Zovirax , Famvir and Valtrex .

Therefore, the aim of genital herpes treatment is to reduce the symptoms. Moreover, it has no side effects.

Genital herpes is one of the most common sexual transmitted diseases that can spread from person-to-person through direct contact in the infected region, including unprotected sexual activity, kissing or skin-to-skin contact.

The other sexual transmitted diseases are gonorrhea , chlamydia , HIV/AIDS, pelvic inflammatory disease and many more.

Generally, herpes simplex virus type-1 causes fever blisters in and around the mouth and is acquired from person to person through kissing whereas herpes simplex virus type-2 is the major cause for genital herpes that affects the genital area. HSV-1 causes genital herpes in rare cases.

On the other hand, make use of a cool tea bag and apply it on the infected area. Throw the bag out immediately after use.

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What Kind Of Doctors Treat Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is treated by primary care providers including internal medicine and family medicine specialists, as well as pediatricians for adolescents. For women, gynecologists are often the treating physicians. In certain circumstances, other specialists may be consulted, including urologists and infectious disease specialists.

Is There Anything I Can Do To Relieve The Symptoms Myself

In some women, genital herpes blisters cause pain when urinating . Many of them find it soothing to pee while sitting in warm, shallow water . You can do this using special tubs that fit into toilet bowls. They are available at a reasonable price, for instance from pharmacies or on the internet. Its best not to use soaps or bath additives because they can irritate the affected area even more. Other things you can do to avoid irritating it further include wearing loose-fitting clothes and underwear made out of fabrics that have a smooth surface.

Painkillers such as ibuprofen are an option if the blisters become very painful.

Topical antiviral treatments such as creams or ointments dont provide any relief, but they can increase the risk of viral resistance. Experts advise against using topical treatments for genital herpes.

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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.

What Is Genital Herpes

Herpes Simplex Virus

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the herpes simplex viruses type 1 or type 2 .

Genital herpes infection is common in the United States. Nationwide, 16.2 percent, or about one out of six, people aged 14 to 49 years have genital HSV-2 infection. Over the past decade, the percentage of persons with genital herpes infection in the United States has remained stable.

There are two types of HSV and both can cause the symptoms of genital herpes. HSV type 1 most commonly causes sores on the lips , but it can cause genital infections as well. HSV type 2 most often causes genital sores, but it also can infect the mouth. The virus remains in certain nerve cells of the body for life, causing periodic symptoms in some people. Many people who are infected with HSV never develop any symptoms.

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Can I Have Sex After Genital Herpes Exposure

The incubation period for genital herpes is 2-12 days. Testing for HSV too early can result in a negative test result, even if you have the virus. If you suspect you’ve been exposed to genital herpes:

  • Stop all sexual activity until you receive a formal diagnosis from your healthcare provider.
  • Make an appointment with your doctor 1-2 weeks after the exposure – unless symptoms appear sooner.
  • See a doctor immediately if you begin to experience symptoms. â
  • Causes And Risk Factors Of Genital Herpes

    Two types of viruses cause genital herpes herpes simplex type 1 and herpes simplex type 2 .

    Usually, HSV-1 causes oral herpes, which becomes visible in the form of cold sores, or fever blisters, on the face, close to the mouth. Most people contract an oral herpes infection during their childhood or young adult years from nonsexual contact with the saliva of an infected person.

    HSV-1 mainly spreads through direct contact with cold sores or saliva. Having oral herpes, or cold sores, does not mean that you have genital herpes. But if you have oral herpes, you can spread it from your mouth to another persons genitals if you perform oral sex on them.

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    Which Std Tests Should I Get

    If you are sexually active, getting tested for STDs is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health. Make sure you have an open and honest conversation about your sexual history and STD testing with your doctor and ask whether you should be tested for STDs. If you are not comfortable talking with your regular health care provider about STDs, there are many clinics that provide confidential and free or low-cost testing.

    Below is a brief overview of STD testing recommendations. STD screening information for healthcare providers can be found here.

  • Anyone who engages in sexual behaviors that could place them at risk for infection or shares injection drug equipment should get tested for HIV at least once a year.
  • should talk with their healthcare provider about throat and rectal testing options.
  • You can quickly find a place to be tested for STDs by entering your zip code in the form below.

    Find an STD testing site near you.

    Who Might Get Herpes Simplex

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    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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