How Do I Talk With People About Having Herpes
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.
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.
How Is Genital Herpes Spread
- Saliva from a partner with an oral herpes infection
- Genital fluids from a partner with a genital herpes infection
- Skin in the oral area of a partner with oral herpes or
- Skin in the genital area of a partner with genital herpes.
You also can get genital herpes from a sex partner who does not have a visible sore or is unaware of their infection. It is also possible to get genital herpes if you receive oral sex from a partner with oral herpes.
You will not get herpes from toilet seats, bedding, or swimming pools. You also will not get it from touching objects, such as silverware, soap, or towels.
If you have more questions about herpes, consider discussing your concerns with a healthcare provider.
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Broaching The Topic Of Genital Herpes
The first date after a genital herpes diagnosis may seem a little strange, however. If you hope to be sexually intimate with your date at some point, you may feel like youre keeping a secret. If you are one to be candid with people, youll want to blurt it out. Dont. There are some things you should reveal about yourself right away for example, that youre married, or that youre just in town for the week but some things are better left for the appropriate moment.
Its up to you to decide the right time to tell a date that you have genital herpes. Follow two rules: First, dont wait until after having sex. Second, dont wait until youre just about to have sex in which case the attraction may be too strong for either of you to think rationally and act responsibly.
If in the past you tended to start a new relationship with sex, you now might want to change your approach. It might be better to break the news about herpes to someone who has already grown attached to you. Kissing, cuddling, and fondling are safe, so you dont have to tell before you do that. But use your best judgment as to how physically intimate you want to get before telling. One thing could lead to another, and you might find yourself in an awkward situation.
What Happens If You Dont Get Herpes Treatment
The good news about herpes is that its not deadly or even very dangerous. It might be annoying, but herpes doesnt get worse over time or cause serious health problems like other STDs can.
If you dont get treated for herpes, you might keep having regular outbreaks, or they could only happen rarely. Some people naturally stop getting outbreaks after a while.
There are a few reasons people may decide not to get treatment. They might not have that many outbreaks, or their outbreaks dont really bother them. Or maybe theyre not having sex, so theyre not that worried about having herpes right now. Whatever your situation is, getting treatment for herpes is your choice.
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How Can I Prevent Genital Herpes
If youre sexually active, you can take these steps to protect yourself and others from the herpes virus and other STIs:
- Be monogamous with one sexual partner or limit your number of partners.
- Get tested for STIs and complete any needed treatment.
- Tell your sexual partners if you have genital herpes so they can get tested.
- Use condoms, including dental dams during oral sex.
- Wash your hands often if you have an outbreak or are around someone with symptoms.
- If your sexual partner has genital herpes, these actions can lower your risk of getting the virus:
- Dont have sex when your partner has active symptoms.
- Make sure your partner takes antiviral medication as prescribed.
- Wait to have sex until scabs fall off.
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Foods High In Arginine
Hazelnuts, walnuts, sesame flour, chocolate, black tea, coconut, oats, whole wheat, gelatin, peanuts, soybeans and wheat germ are foods rich in arginine. These foods also contain lysine, but the arginine content exceeds the lysine content.
Coconut water and coconut oil do not contain arginine and can be included in your diet.
If you are interested in the diet for herpes sufferers, you should know which foods are high in lysine and low in arginine.
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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.
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?
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I Have Herpes You Could Too
If you get cold sores, you have herpes. If you get cold sores, you have herpes. If you get cold sores, you have herpes.
There, I said it.
When I got my test results, I cried for an hour. And then I cried some more. Not because I was scared for my health, but because I was afraid of what people would think. Part of me thought no one would ever want to be with me that I was suddenly unloveable. This horrible thing had happened to me without me knowing, and it was never going away.
My mom was the first person I told.
Do you see me differently now that I have herpes? I asked, trying not to cry.
I think youre still the same daughter I had, just more grown-up now, she assured me.
After a pause, she chuckled. Just remember to use condoms.
I always do.
Which barring two ex-partners who had gotten tested and a couple of accidents is true. I have always taken my sexual health seriously. I get tested every six months and expect the same from my partners.
But herpes is so common they dont even test for it on a regular STI panel. I probably wouldnt have ever found out I had it if my partner at the time hadnt had his first outbreak. When he called me to tell me he had herpes, I didnt know what to do. After countless Google searches and conversations with my closest friends, I decided to get tested. Multiple doctors repeatedly told me that getting tested while not showing any symptoms was rare and discouraged. But I wanted to know.
How Do I Talk To My Sex Partners
Telling them about your condition can be hard. Take some time to learn what you can and understand your own feelings first. You may be more at ease to talk openly.
Some people you tell might not think its such a big deal. Others will have strong feelings about it.
You cant control how anyone else reacts. All you can do is share what you know, answer questions, and give them time to think about it.
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Herpes And Processed Foods
The list of foods to avoid by herpes sufferers is not complete without processed foods which include canned meats, precooked foods, snacks and bottled beverages.
These foods, in addition to having a low nutritional level, contain artificial ingredients that can be harmful to health and therefore should not be included in the diet for herpes sufferers.
One of these artificial ingredients is sulfite which is added as a preservative. The U.S. FDA declared that safe sulfiting agents are sodium sulfite, sodium and potassium metabisulfite, sodium and potassium bisulfite and sulfur dioxide.
Sulfites can cause adverse reactions, sometimes serious, in asthmatic persons and also in persons without allergic history. The most common symptoms are hives, diarrhea, nauseas, tightness in the chest, flushing and weakness.
The diet for herpes sufferers should be based primarily on foods free of artificial components.
What Can You Expect When Visiting A Doctor For Ocular Herpes Diagnosis
Ocular or eye herpes can be often misdiagnosed during early stages. Documenting your symptoms and when they occurred can help you receive a more accurate diagnosis. You should bring these notes to your doctors appointment and be prepared to answer questions about your medical history.
In most cases during your diagnosis appointment you can expect the following 3 things:
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Herpes Drugs Dont Stop Herpes Shedding
Got Genital Herpes? Youre Still Infectious, Even if Drugs Cut Symptoms
Even when they dont have an active herpes outbreak, people who carry genital herpes viruses are at risk of infecting their sex partners. With the discovery of drugs that prevent herpes outbreaks, there was hope that the drugs would also prevent herpes transmission. But theres been troubling evidence that this may not be true.
Now University of Washington researcher Christine Johnston, MD, and colleagues show that people with no herpes symptoms often shed infectious genital herpes virus even while taking very high doses of anti-herpes drugs.
Short episodes of genital shedding occur frequently with antiviral therapy, even for high-dose regimens, Johnston and colleagues report. These breakthrough episodes are typically , last several hours, and occur at much the same rate irrespective of antiviral dose.
One in 5 Americans and Europeans carries HSV-2, the virus that causes most cases of genital herpes HSV-1 causes some cases. Most people have few, if any, of genital herpes painful symptoms: blisters on or around the genitals or rectum.
Theres no cure for herpes infections. Thats because herpes viruses travel up nerves to take up latent form in the nerve root. Powerful anti-herpes drugs acyclovir , famciclovir , and valacyclovir prevent most outbreaks in most people. But they dont eliminate virus hiding in nerve cells.
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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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.
What Is The Link Between Genital Herpes And Hiv
There are two common misconceptions about getting herpes. The first is that your partner lied to you about not having herpes if you suddenly have an outbreak. The second is that your partner cheated on you since you havent had sex with anyone else in years.
While is possible that both are true, there are other explanations for why you may suddenly have had your first herpes outbreak. This articles explores some of the more common reasons and what you can do to prevent or treat a herpes infection.
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How Do Dermatologists Treat Herpes Simplex
There is no cure for herpes simplex. The good news is that sores often clear without treatment. Many people choose to treat herpes simplex because treatment can relieve symptoms and shorten an outbreak.
Most people are treated with an antiviral medicine. An antiviral cream or ointment can relieve the burning, itching, or tingling. An antiviral medicine that is oral or intravenous can shorten an outbreak of herpes.
Prescription antiviral medicines approved for the treatment of both types of herpes simplex include:
Taken daily, these medicines can lessen the severity and frequency of outbreaks. They also can help prevent infected people from spreading the virus.
What It Means For Partners
Your partner has genital herpes. Your support is very important in helping you and your partner to understand what this means. When your partner goes back to the doctor, you may wish to go too, so that you can find out more about the herpes infection. In the meantime, here are answers to some questions you may have.
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How Are Genital Herpes Diagnosed
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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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:
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Genital Herpes Is Spread By Skin
The virus can be spread when someone with HSV has an episode or an outbreak characterised by having a sore, blister, ulcer or skin split . It can also be spread between episodes, when there is no sore, blister, ulcer or skin split present called asymptomatic viral shedding.
During viral shedding the virus is on the skin surface and can be spread through genital skin-to-skin contact, or from the mouth or face to genital skin during contact.
Syphilis: A Greater Health Threat Than Herpes
Syphilis and genital herpes are both STDs that can cause sores in the genital area. Like oral herpes, syphilis can also cause mouth sores, which often clear without treatment. But despite these similarities in symptoms, the two diseases differ in their causes syphilis is caused by a bacteria and herpes by a virus and the health risks they pose.
For most people the exceptions being infants and people who have weakened immune systems or who are chronically ill herpes is more of an annoyance than a dangerous disease. But untreated syphilis can lead to severe complications, including bone, joint, liver, heart, and brain damage.
There are four stages of syphilis, according to the CDC, each with different signs and symptoms. In the primary stage, a painless sore or sores develop where the bacteria first entered the skin or mucous membrane. In the secondary stage, you may develop a skin rash, swollen lymph nodes, fever, and other flu-like symptoms. In the latent stage of syphilis, there are no signs or symptoms, and in the tertiary stage, the bacterial infection can damage the heart, brain, and other organs of the body.
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First Decide If Its Worth Telling
Before you start practicing how to tell someone you have herpes, consider whether its information that needs to be shared at all.
Most people in your life dont need to know about your herpes diagnosis. Friends, colleagues and family members arent at risk of catching the virus from you, and you dont owe them the information.
Its more important to share this information with potential sexual partners before you sleep together. Genital herpes spreads mainly through close sexual contact, even if youre not experiencing an active outbreak. For this reason, its essential to share that you have herpes before your partner faces the risk of infection.
Weigh the pros and cons of whether its best to tell your partner before you get too involved, or to wait until after youve dated for a while and may begin sleeping together. This choice is entirely yours and will be influenced by your own comfort zone, the personality of your partner, and the dynamics of your relationship.