What Is Suppressive Therapy
Suppressive therapy involves taking an oral antiviral drug every day for prolonged periods. It interferes with the herpes virus reproductive cycle and so prevents or dramatically reduces the number of recurrences. When recurrences do occur, they are usually less severe and shorter lasting.
If you find the frequency of your outbreaks unacceptable, or if you are finding it difficult to cope emotionally with having recurrences of genital herpes, tell your doctor and discuss the use of suppressive therapy.
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A First Episode Of Genital Herpes Whilst You Are Pregnant
If you develop a first episode of genital herpes within the final six weeks of your pregnancy, or around the time of the birth, the risk of passing on the virus to your baby is highest. In this situation there is about a 4 in 10 chance of the baby developing a herpes infection. The baby may develop a very serious herpes infection if he or she is born by a vaginal delivery.
Therefore, in this situation your specialist is likely to recommend that you have a caesarean section delivery. This will greatly reduce the chance of the baby coming into contact with the virus . Infection of the baby is then usually prevented.
However, if you decide against a caesarean section and choose to opt for a vaginal birth, the specialist is likely to recommend that you be given antiviral medication . This is given into your veins during your labour and birth. They may also suggest that antiviral medication be given to your baby after he or she is born.
What Are Signs Of Genital Herpes In Women
Women who have the herpes virus may have nooutbreaks or signs of infection. Many do not know theyhave the virus. Once you are infected, the virus staysin your nerve cells for life. When the virus is not active,there is no sign of infection. When the virus becomesactive, a herpes outbreak occurs. Some womenmay not have any outbreaks or may have only oneoutbreak, while others may have multiple outbreaks.
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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.
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.
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What Is Genital Herpes
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.
Choose The Right Moment To Chat
One of the hardest aspects of telling someone you have genital herpes is choosing the right moment. Perfect, distraction-free one-on-one conversations rarely play out like they do in the movies, meaning you might need to improvise a little in this category.
If you need to tell a romantic and potential sexual partner that you have herpes, its essential that you do this before you have any sexual contact. Herpes can spread easily, and theres a real risk of transmission even if you arent experiencing an outbreak.
Generally, the best time to explain to your partner that you have herpes is when you start to think that sexual contact is on the horizon. After a date, your partner might invite you to their home, sending an obvious signal that theyre open to the idea of escalating the relationship.
Once youre alone and comfortable, its generally the best time to get the herpes conversation out of the way. In the next sections, weve provided some techniques that you can use to help make the conversation a little more manageable.
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Treatment For Cold Sores
Cold sores are generally not dangerous and do not cause any permanent damage to the skin. Treatment does not cure the infection and is not necessary for most cases. Avoid picking the scab or breaking blisters as this can cause secondary infection with bacteria, or scarring. Creams to treat the symptoms can be soothing, as can ice on the blisters. Simple painkillers may occasionally be required. Povidone-iodine ointments can be dabbed onto the cold sores and may reduce symptoms in some people.Antiviral medications come in many forms, including creams and tablets. Medications such as aciclovir and famciclovir shorten the duration of the cold sore by reducing the ability of the virus to reproduce. Aciclovir cream works best when applied to the blister at the earliest stages of cold sore development, when the area is tingling. However, not everyone experiences warning signs of an impending cold sore.
What Should I Know If I Am Pregnant And I Have Genital Herpes
Its normal to be concerned about the health of your baby when you have any type of STI. HSV can be transmitted to your baby if you have an active outbreak during a vaginal delivery.
Its important to tell your doctor that you have genital herpes as soon as you know youre pregnant.
Your doctor will discuss what to expect before, during, and after you deliver your baby. They can prescribe pregnancy-safe treatments to ensure a healthy delivery. They may also opt to deliver your baby via cesarean.
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How Do You Get Herpes
There are two different herpes viruses: Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 and Herpes Simplex Virus type 2 .
While rare, a mother can pass genital herpes to the baby during vaginal childbirth.
Herpes is most easily transmitted when sores are open and wet, because fluid from herpes blisters easily spreads the virus. But herpes can also shed and be passed to others when there are no sores and the skin looks totally normal. Most people get herpes from someone who does not have any sores. When used consistently and correctly, condoms help protect against herpes and many other STDs.
What Triggers A Cold Sore
After you have been infected with HSV-1, the virus never goes away. It remains dormant in a group of nerve cells in your face called the trigeminal ganglion.
When the virus is triggered, or activated, it wakes up and travels through your nerves to your lips, where a cold sore develops. After an outbreak, the virus goes back to sleep in your body.
What triggers a cold sore in one person might not cause an outbreak in another person. Some people with HSV-1 never develop a cold sore.
A cold sore can be activated by a variety of factors, including:
- Hormonal changes during menstruation or pregnancy
- Fever and illness, such as cold or flu
- Damaged, dry or cracked lips
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A Guide To Oral Herpes
Research suggests that most people have been infected by one type of herpes before they reach adulthood. However, the fact that many people suffer from oral herpes does not make it any less embarrassing when those sores break out. Oral herpes can make people feel socially awkward. To tell the truth, though, herpes is not a particularly dangerous condition for adults.
The greatest problem with oral herpes is that it is such a contagious disease. It is transferred through mucous and saliva, so it is very easy to catch. Once oral herpes has been caught, it quickly results in sores and blisters around the lips, mouth and gums. These sores are often known as cold sores and they can be very painful. They can also be very unsightly and embarrassing. When these sores appear, this is the point at which the disease is most contagious.
The sores that appear around the mouth as a result of oral herpes do not usually last for more than a week. However, they can be very painful and can even result in sufferers finding it difficult to eat and drink because they are suffering such discomfort.
Once the sores have disappeared, the herpes virus is still present. In fact, it lodges in tissue in the spine where it can reproduce. This sounds like it could result in further symptoms. However, in many cases, it is no longer noticeable and the sores do not reappear. For other people, however, the sores which characterise oral herpes can reappear during times of stress, anxiety and worry.
Treating A Herpes Cold Sore
Because a herpes cold sore is caused by the virus, it needs to be treated with antiviral medicines. These medicines include:
- Valacyclovir , Famciclovir and Acyclovir . These meds can help to relieve pain and discomfort. Also, they can keep the sores from popping up in the first place. To get the best results, you need to take them before an outbreak occurs. Once the sores are present, these medicines will not help much.
- Prosurx- Nanomedicine HSV-1 & HSV-2 treatment. Prosurx is one of the best over-the-counter topical medicines to treat a herpes cold sore. This cream can provide immediate relief from herpes symptoms. Also, it can help to prevent the sores before they start. Prosurx can attack HSV-1 at its root, thus helping prevent future outbreaks. You can apply this every time you think you have a herpes cold sore. This will stop your outbreak, soothe the symptoms and heal your damaged skin.
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How Do I Tell Them
When contacting previous sexual partners about genital herpes, be direct and honest. Let them know that you contracted genital herpes and the diagnosis date. Encourage them to seek testing and treatment, and remind them that most people are asymptomatic.
It may be an uncomfortable conversation, but notifying your partners is the best way to protect them and others from transmitting the herpes virus. Although there’s a lot of social stigma associated with STIs, they are a normal part of being sexually active – thereâs nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s also important to remember that genital herpes is extremely common worldwide.
What Are The Symptoms Of Genital Herpes
Most individuals infected with HSV are asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms that go unnoticed or are mistaken for another skin condition. 9 When symptoms do occur, herpes lesions typically appear as one or more vesicles, or small blisters, on or around the genitals, rectum or mouth. The average incubation period for an initial herpes infection is 4 days after exposure. 10 The vesicles break and leave painful ulcers that may take two to four weeks to heal after the initial herpes infection. 5,10 Experiencing these symptoms is referred to as having a first herpes outbreak or episode.
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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.
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Before You Judge Me Let Me Explain
Since being diagnosed with herpes about a year ago, Ive been torn between telling potential sexual partners about my status. All the advice out there seems to boil down to the sad, impossible truth: Given how low the risks of transmission are, how unlikely it is that youll have any symptoms if you do get it, and how manageable it is if you do have symptoms, you really shouldnt have to tell potential sexual partners. And yet, you just do. It is just the responsible and respectful thing to do. It seems that the reasons behind this heartbreaking conclusion are 1) you might transmit the virus to your partner, and even if they dont get any symptoms, they could pass it on to someone else, thus perpetuating the vicious life cycle of an STI and 2) even if youre not worried about passing it on, if you end up in a longer-term situation with someone youll have to disclose your herpes diagnosis at some point, right? Because not telling them would be dishonest. And a relationship built on lies is bound to fail, right? You couldnt deal with that level of deceit between you and a long-term romantic partner, could you? No. Best to tell them. It sucks that you have to and we wish we lived in a society where there wasnt this much stigma around genital herpes, but we do and therefore you are obliged to disclose your status.
How is this possible? Okay, are you ready for it? This is gonna flip your lid.
If I Dont Have Herpes Now How Can I Avoid It In The Future
The only sure-fire way to avoid getting genital herpes is to abstain from sex or have sex only with someone who is also herpes-free. Short of that, a latex condom offers some protection if it covers the infected area. Remember, you can get genital herpes by receiving oral sex from someone with a cold sore on the mouth. Likewise, you can get oral herpes from someones genitals by way of oral sex.
If you know that a sex partner has genital herpes, you can reduce your risk by having sex only when they have no symptoms. Nevertheless, genital herpes can be contagious even when there are no visible symptoms, so you should always use a latex barrier, such as a condom or a dental dam.
If your partner has a known history of herpes, the rate of transmission can be decreased by having your partner on a daily prophylactic dose of antiviral herpes medication like acyclovir. Your partners doctor can prescribe this.
Studies are under way to investigate medicated gel products that can be placed in the to reduce the transmission of herpes and HIV. These may be available in the near future.
Coping With Your Feelings
Finding out that you have genital herpes may cause you to have negative thoughts or feelings about yourself or about sex, such as:
- Feeling ashamed or embarrassed.
- Being afraid of the consequences of the infection.
- Being angry at the person who infected you.
- Feeling frustrated with treatment or recurrent outbreaks.
- Feeling scared to have sex.
A counselor or support groups for people with herpes may be helpful.
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How Long Do Sores From Herpes Simplex Last
If youre infected with HSV-1, commonly known as oral herpes, you may notice tingling or burning around your mouth in the days before a cold sore appears. These blisters break open and ooze fluid before forming a crust. Usually, sores last for seven to 10 days.
If youre infected with HSV-2, commonly known as genital herpes, your first outbreak may last between two to four weeks. Recurrent outbreaks usually last between three to seven days.
How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Herpes Simplex
You can reduce your risk of contracting HSV-1 by avoiding physical contact with someone who has a cold sore. People can still spread HSV-1 when cold sores arent present, but its less likely.
If someone has an active HSV-1 infection, avoid:
- Sharing utensils, cups, lip balms or other personal care products.
- Touching the skin near their mouth.
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 prescribed treatment.
- Tell your sexual partners if you have genital herpes so they can get tested.
- Use condoms during intercourse and 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. Condoms may not cover all sores, so you may still get the virus.
- Make sure your partner takes antiviral medication as prescribed.
- Wait to have sex until scabs fall off active lesions.
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