Tuesday, January 24, 2023

What Can You Do To Prevent Herpes

Treatment If The Blisters Come Back

What You Need to Know About Genital Herpes

Go to a GP or sexual health clinic if you have been diagnosed with genital herpes and need treatment for an outbreak.

Antiviral medicine may help shorten an outbreak by 1 or 2 days if you start taking it as soon as symptoms appear.

But outbreaks usually settle by themselves, so you may not need treatment.

Recurrent outbreaks are usually milder than the first episode of genital herpes.

Over time, outbreaks tend to happen less often and be less severe. Some people never have outbreaks.

Some people who have more than 6 outbreaks in a year may benefit from taking antiviral medicine for 6 to 12 months.

If you still have outbreaks of genital herpes during this time, you may be referred to a specialist.

How Is It Spread

The herpes virus is spread by skin-to-skin contact with a person who has the herpes virus:

  • Most often, from herpes sores or blisters
  • Less often, from normal looking skin where the virusfirst entered the body
  • The herpes virus enters the body through the:
    • Lining of the mouth
    • Regular skin that has small cracks or cuts

People with a weak immune system can get a herpesinfection more easily. A weak immune system is causedby some diseases and by somemedicines used to treat serious diseases.

People who don’t know they have herpes can still spread the virus to others.

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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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 .

Don’t Have Sex With A Partner Who Has Sores On Their Genitals

Pin on Herpes Cure

If you know your partner has genital herpes, always abstain from sex when symptoms are present. Or, if you see a sore on someone’s genitals, don’t have sex with that person until you’re sure they don’t have genital herpes. Remember, not everyone with genital herpes has symptoms, and herpes sores can be very hard to spot.

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How To Get Rid Of Herpes The Conventional Way

For most people with herpes, the virus typically represents nothing more than an inconvenience however, the real risk is for immuno-compromised patients who cant easily manage infections. In these patients, such as those with HIV/AIDS, herpes simplex infection is associated with increased morbidity and mortality.

As of 2017, there is not currently a herpes vaccine available to prevent HSV-1 or HSV-2.

Doctors sometimes prescribe medications to help keep the herpes virus suppressed or to speed up healing of cold sores by reducing bacteria that can cause infections. Some medications that are now used to control herpes include:

  • Nucleoside analogues and antiviral medications
  • Creams/ointment to help lower pain and inflammation near the site of sores
  • Over-the-counter painkillers to reduce aches, tenderness or fever

However, its important to understand that even with early detection and prescription medications, either form of the herpes virus cannot be totally cured so transmission is always still possible. Medications for viruses dont always work long term and are not a cure-all.

How Does Genital Herpes Spread

The herpes virus that causes genital herpes spreads through saliva, semen and vaginal secretions. Its possible to get genital herpes from someone who doesnt have visible symptoms. You can have the infection, not know it and infect someone else.

Genital herpes can spread through:

  • Oral sex with someone whos infected.
  • Skin-to-skin contact without ejaculation.
  • Touching open sores, including while breastfeeding.
  • Childbirth by a mother or gestational parent who has an active infection.

You cant get genital herpes from objects like toilet seats. But you could pass genital herpes through shared sex toys.

Also Check: How To Catch Herpes Simplex

How Do You Avoid Getting Or Passing On Genital Herpes

If either you or your partner has a herpes outbreak , its best to wait until the symptoms have cleared up before having sex.

Using a new male or female condom or dental dam every time you have vaginal, or oral sex will reduce the risk of herpes being passed on.

Herpes can also be transmitted by sharing sex toys. To reduce your risk, either avoid sharing your sex toys or make sure that they are washed and covered with a new condom between each use.

Use a new dental dam or latex gloves for rimming and fingering or use latex gloves for fisting, especially if you get herpes on your hands.

Talking about your sexual health with your partners, and letting each other know about any infections that you have, can help you make decisions about safer sex together. Reducing your number of sexual partners can help you reduce your risk of getting sexually transmitted infections, like genital herpes. If you are having sex with multiple partners, its even more important to use condoms and to have regular STI checks.

Condoms are the best form of protection against STIs and pregnancy. Other contraceptives including the contraceptive pill will not prevent herpes, and neither will PrEP.

Is Genital Herpes Infection Related To Hiv

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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.

Also Check: What Does Herpes Do To The Body

Read Also: How Long Does It Take To Test For Herpes

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 didn’t 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.

Treatment For Genital Herpes

There is no medication to cure your body of the herpes virus. Treatment is aimed at easing symptoms, reducing the frequency of recurrences and reducing transmission.

Symptoms can be improved by:

  • ice packs to the affected area
  • pain-relieving medication such as paracetamol
  • antiviral medication such as acyclovir, famciclovir and valaciclovir. These can reduce the severity of an episode if taken early enough . Topical antivirals usually used for cold sores on the lips or face are not suitable for use on the genitals.

Also Check: Can You Kiss Someone With Herpes

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.

How Do I Talk With People About Having Herpes

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It might feel scary to admit you have herpes, but talking about things can really ease your mind. You could lean on a close, non-judgmental friend that you trust to keep the conversation private. Parents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, and other family members can also be a source of comfort. Remember, herpes is really common, so its possible the person youre talking to has herpes, too.

There are a lot of online support groups for people who have herpes, and the American Sexual Health Association has a list of support groups that meet in person.

Also Check: Can You Have Herpes Outbreaks Back To Back

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.

Genital Herpes: How Can You Prevent The Spread Of Herpes In Sexual Relationships

Herpes viruses are most likely to be transmitted during an outbreak, so it’s better to not have sex during this time. Herpes can also be passed on to others in symptom-free phases, though. This risk can be reduced considerably by using condoms.

If you have genital herpes, there are some things you can do on your own to protect your partner from infection. The main things are

  • not having sex during an outbreak,
  • using condoms during symptom-free phases, and
  • talking openly with your partner about the disease.

Preventive treatment with antiviral medication may be an option for people who have genital herpes very frequently. This medication inhibits the activity of the virus, thereby lowering the risk of infecting partners.

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Vitamin Deficiencies Might Affect Herpes

Scientific data shows that certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies can have a negative effect on your immune system. For example, deficiencies of micronutrients like zinc and selenium show a correlation with a weakened immune system in some studies.

This means that if youre deficient in a certain vitamin or mineral, theres a risk that your immune system could be weakened.

The herpes virus usually begins as an initial outbreak, which can last for several weeks. As your body launches its immune response, the virus retreats into the nerve ganglia, where it remains in a dormant state between outbreaks.

A weakened immune system makes the risk of the virus resurfacing greater, increasing your risk of experiencing an oral or genital herpes outbreak.

This makes it important to focus on maintaining a healthy immune system if you have HSV-1 or HSV-2, especially if you experience symptoms of the virus.

Prevention Of Genital Herpes

How Contagious is 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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Talking To Your Partner

Talking to your partner about your herpes condition helps to develop trust, improves the relationship, and makes regular use of condoms more likely.

When you talk to your partner, youâll find out if theyâre one of the people who understand the risk of getting herpes and are OK with it or if theyâre in the group of people who want the most protection possible.

You should ask your partner to get tested for herpes. Most people have never been tested for herpes because this isnât a routinely ordered test even if a âfull STD panelâ is requested.

A type-specific herpes test is necessary. If your partner is positive for the same virus type, you wonât need to use protection.

Can Herpes Be Prevented Or Avoided

The best way to prevent getting herpes is to not have sex with anyone who has the virus. It can be spread even when the person who has it isnt showing any symptoms. If your partner has herpes, there is no way of knowing for sure that you wont get it.

If you are infected, there is no time that is completely safe to have sex and not spread herpes. If you have herpes, you must tell your sex partner. You should avoid having sex if you have any sores. Herpes can spread from one person to another very easily when sores are present.

You should use condoms every time you have sex. They can help reduce the risk of spreading herpes. But its still possible to spread or get herpes if youre using a condom.

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Is There A Treatment For Genital Herpes

Several medicines can help. Acyclovir , famciclovir and valacyclovir can be used for genital herpes. Your doctor can prescribe one of these medicines for you. There are two ways to take the medicine: suppressive and episodic.

Suppressive treatment keeps herpes sores from coming back. You have to take one or more pills every day for a long time. This can be expensive. When you stop taking the pills, the sores might come back again. However, if you have many sores and they hurt a lot, ask your doctor about suppressive therapy.

With episodic treatment, you only take medicine when you start to get a sore. The medicine makes the sore hurt less and go away faster. This works best if you take the medicine within a few hours after the first signs that you are getting a sore. Episodic treatment doesn’t keep sores from coming back another time.

Take good care of yourself and eat a healthy diet, because the sores often come back when your resistance is weak.

Does A Cold Sore On My Mouth Mean I Have Genital Herpes

Herpes Treatment

No, a cold sore on your mouth usually means you have herpes simplex virus type 1 . You can get HSV-1 by kissing someone or sharing utensils, towels, razors, or lipstick with someone who has HSV-1.

HSV-1 cannot turn into HSV-2 , but you can get a cold sore on your mouth from HSV-2 if you give oral sex to someone with HSV-2. Cold sores caused by HSV-1 or HSV-2 are contagious. You can spread it to other people or other parts of your body if you touch an open sore and then touch another part of your body. That means if you have a cold sore and give oral sex to someone, that person will get the herpes virus on his or her genitals.

Avoid touching your cold sore as much as possible. If you touch your cold sore, wash your hands right away to avoid spreading the infection to other parts of your body or other people.

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Preventing Herpes During Pregnancy

If you are an adult, the symptoms of herpes are usually manageable and rarely cause complications. However, herpes is transmitted to a baby before, during, or after childbirth, it can be dangerous.

Even with aggressive treatment, newborns who get herpes often die because they don’t have the immune defenses to fight off the infection, allowing it to spread to the liver, lungs, brain, and other parts of the body.

Neonatal herpes mainly occurs during childbirth as the baby comes into contact with lesions in the birth canal. Less commonly, the virus is passed while the baby is still in the womb or after birth when the newborn comes into contact with a herpes sore.

Since 85% of these infections occur during childbirth, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women with active recurrent genital herpes be given suppressive therapy starting at 36 weeks of pregnancy. Doing so can greatly reduce, but not entirely eliminate, the risk of infection.

After childbirth, mothers may need to limit contact with a newborn if an outbreak occurs. They also need to take extra care to wash their hands and any touched objects thoroughly and frequently.

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