Education Is An Integral Part Of Herpes Treatment
If you have genital herpes, its important for you to get educated about herpes and have the opportunity to ask questions in a supportive environment.
Becoming informed will help you learn to cope with the illness. It will also help you prevent sexual transmission of the illness, or transmission to an infant during a pregnancy.
Herpes has a tremendous psychosocial overlay. But knowledge about it and understanding about how well it can be managed can reduce that, says Handsfield.
Your doctor may be able to provide you with all the information you need, or you may choose to seek counseling from a mental health professional or at a clinic that specializes in sexual health, such as Planned Parenthood.
If you have a regular sexual partner, that person should also have the chance to learn about herpes and ask any questions they may have about it.
Genital Herpes During Pregnancy
Prevention of neonatal herpes depends both on preventing acquisition of genital herpes during late pregnancy and avoiding exposure of the neonate to herpetic lesions and viral shedding during delivery. Mothers of newborns who acquire neonatal herpes often lack histories of clinically evident genital herpes . The risk for transmission to the neonate from an infected mother is high among women who acquire genital herpes near the time of delivery and low among women with prenatal histories of recurrent herpes or who acquire genital herpes during the first half of pregnancy . Women who acquire HSV in the second half of pregnancy should be managed in consultation with maternal-fetal medicine and infectious disease specialists.
All pregnant women should be asked whether they have a history of genital herpes or genital symptoms concerning for HSV infection. At the onset of labor, all women should be questioned thoroughly about symptoms of genital herpes, including prodromal symptoms , and all women should be examined thoroughly for herpetic lesions. Women without symptoms or signs of genital herpes or its prodrome can deliver vaginally. Although cesarean delivery does not eliminate the risk for HSV transmission to the neonate , women with recurrent genital herpetic lesions at the onset of labor should have a cesarean delivery to reduce the risk for neonatal HSV infection.
Acyclovir 400 mg orally 3 times/dayORValacyclovir 500 mg orally 2 times/day
How Do You Catch Genital Herpes
The HSV-1 and HSV-2 types of herpes simplex are found in bodily fluids including semen, saliva and vaginal secretions.
You can become infected with genital herpes:
- If your genitals come into contact with an infected persons genitals, even if there is no penetration or ejaculate present
- Oral sex with someone who has a cold sore. The cold sore contains the herpes simplex virus, which may be transmitted to your genitals
You cannot catch genital herpes from:
- Kissing, hugging or sharing a bed with an infected person
- Toilet seat or swimming pools
- Objects such as towels, cups or cutlery
This is because the virus is not able to survive well outside of the human body.
Don’t Miss: Can Herpes Heal Without Medicine
Genital Herpes And Pregnancy
Women with herpes before pregnancy can usually expect to have a healthy baby and a vaginal delivery.
If you have genital herpes during pregnancy, there’s a risk your baby could develop a serious illness called neonatal herpes.
This can be fatal, but most babies recover with antiviral treatment.
The risk of your baby getting neonatal herpes is low if you have had genital herpes before.
It’s higher if you get genital herpes for the first time in pregnancy.
Management Of Sex Partners
The sex partners of persons who have symptomatic genital herpes can benefit from evaluation and counseling. Symptomatic sex partners should be evaluated and treated in the same manner as patients who have symptomatic genital herpes. Asymptomatic sex partners of patients who have symptomatic genital herpes should be asked about a history of genital symptoms and offered type-specific serologic testing for HSV-2. For partners without genital herpes, no data are available on which to base a recommendation for PEP or PrEP with antiviral medications or that they would prevent acquisition, and this should not be offered to patients as a prevention strategy.
Also Check: Will Genital Herpes Go Away
Genital Herpes Guide: Treatment And Follow
Treatment and follow-up guidance for the genital herpes.
Note: This guide provides minimal information about neonatal herpes. For more information, refer to the Canadian Paediatric Society Position Statement about the prevention and management of neonatal herpes simplex virus infections.
What You Need To Know
- Herpes simplex virus , also known as genital herpes, is most likely to be spread when an infected person is having an outbreak, but it can also be transmitted without any symptoms being present.
- Medications can help reduce your symptoms, speed up the healing of an outbreak and make you less contagious.
- If you know you have genital herpes before becoming pregnant, your physician will monitor your condition throughout your pregnancy. If you have an active outbreak at the time of delivery, cesarean section may be recommended.
Don’t Miss: Are There Herpes Dating Sites
Why Is This Medication Prescribed
Acyclovir is used to decrease pain and speed the healing of sores or blisters in people who have varicella , herpes zoster , and first-time or repeat outbreaks of genital herpes . Acyclovir is also sometimes used to prevent outbreaks of genital herpes in people who are infected with the virus. Acyclovir is in a class of antiviral medications called synthetic nucleoside analogues. It works by stopping the spread of the herpes virus in the body. Acyclovir will not cure genital herpes and may not stop the spread of genital herpes to other people.
Acyclovir May Cause Side Effects Tell Your Doctor If Any Of These Symptoms Are Severe Or Do Not Go Away:
- numbness, burning, or tingling in the arms or legs
- temporary inability to move parts of your body
- shaking of a part of your body that you cannot control
- loss of consciousness
Acyclovir may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking or using this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone .
Recommended Reading: What Medicine Is Used To Treat Herpes
Genital Warts Vs Herpes
Human papillomavirus – the virus which causes genital warts – and herpes, are both common STIs.
HPV is more common than herpes, and it is understood that nearly all sexually active people will have HPV at some point in their life. Both viruses have the potential to cause genital lesions, and they can also both present without any symptoms. For this reason, it can be hard for some people to tell which one they have.
While genital warts and herpes can both be passed on via sex, the sores have different causes, and different treatments. In general, the symptoms of herpes are more painful. Using condoms can significantly reduce your risk of both genital warts and herpes.
Are Antiviral Medications Safe
Antiviral medications are considered to be very safe. They are nearly always well tolerated because the active ingredients only have an effect in cells that have been infected by the virus.
People who have kidney failure may need to take a lower dose because the medication is removed from the body through the kidneys.
Don’t Miss: How Do You Know You Got Herpes
Where Does The Herpes Virus Live In The Body
The herpes simplex viruses are latent, meaning they can live in the body without causing symptoms. After the initial infection, the virus gets into the nerve roots and spreads to the sensory nerve ganglia, the junctions where nerves from different parts of the body come together. For the genital area, the ganglia are adjacent to the spinal cord in the lower back. For orofacial herpes , the ganglia are located behind the cheek bone.
Is There A Cure Or Treatment For Genital Herpes
There is no cure for genital herpes. However, daily use of antiviral medicines can prevent or shorten outbreaks. Antiviral medicines also can reduce the chance of spreading it to others.
Though several clinical trials have tested vaccines against genital herpes, there is no vaccine currently available to prevent infection. One vaccine trial showed efficacy among women whose partners had HSV-2, but only among women not infected with HSV-1. Efficacy was not observed among men whose partners had HSV-2. Another trial testing the same vaccine showed some protection from genital HSV-1 infection, but none from HSV-2.
You May Like: Herpes Medicine To Prevent Transmission
Other Uses For This Medicine
Acyclovir is also sometimes used to treat eczema herpeticum to treat and prevent herpes infections of the skin, eyes, nose, and mouth in patients with human immunodeficiency virus , and to treat oral hairy leukoplakia .
This medication may be prescribed for other uses ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What Does Genital Herpes Look Like
While some people with genital herpes will never have any symptoms, other people can develop symptoms within a few weeks of being infected.
Often, before the lesions appear, patients describe a prodrome, characterized by a tingling or burning sensation in the area where the lesions will develop that can be noticed during urination, along with itching or discomfort in the genital area.
You can also have the following symptoms:
- Blisters on the mouth or lips
- Fever, headache or pain in the joints
- Trouble urinating
The symptoms of genital herpes often go away and come back as recurring outbreaks. For most people, the first outbreak is the worst, and can last from two to three weeks. Future flare-ups are often less severe and do not last as long. Still, some people shed the virus regularly. The following triggers can make outbreaks more likely to occur:
- Viral or bacterial infections
- Menstrual periods
Recurrent genital herpes is most common in the first year after the initial infection and decreases as time goes on.
In many cases, anti-herpes medicine can help patients. When a person experiences a prodrome and suspects a recurrence is going to happen, they begin taking anti-herpes medications that lessen symptoms and shorten the time of the outbreak.
Recommended Reading: How Long Does Genital Herpes Last With Medication
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.
What Are The Treatments For Genital Herpes
There’s no cure for genital herpes, but antiviral treatment can help. Your doctor might prescribe:
All of these antivirals can be used to shorten or prevent outbreaks. Daily suppressive therapy can reduce the number of outbreaks and potential spread to partners when ulcers are not apparent . The newer drugs, Famvir and Valtrex, can be taken less frequently and may be better absorbed and better tolerated in some.
During an active herpes episode, you should take steps to speed healing and to keep from infecting others:
- Keep the affected area clean and dry. This helps keep other infections away.
- Don’t touch herpes sores. If you do, wash hands thoroughly.
Avoid sexual contact from the first sign of symptoms until the sores are completely gone. This is when the scab has fallen off and new skin covers the place where there were blisters. But remember that you can still infect someone even if you don’t have any symptoms or sores.
Don’t Miss: Can You Be An Egg Donor If You Have Herpes
Where Can I Get Medications For Herpes
The most common antiviral medications used to manage herpes simplex symptoms are available by prescription. If you have symptoms such as a cold sore or genital herpes, call your doctors office. They will first diagnose if you have herpes simplex. Then they will prescribe an appropriate medication to manage your symptoms.
Only docosanol is an antiviral medication available over the counter as a cream to manage oral symptoms such as cold sores or fever blisters.
- pain relievers such ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help with pain
- cold compress or ice to soothe burning or itching
- zinc oxide topical cream, which may help soothe itching or burning
Before trying over the counter medications or supplements, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist about your symptoms.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
The early recognition of genital herpes, ideally during the prodromal stage, allows you to access treatments that can shorten the duration and severity of an outbreak.
Clearly, this can be difficult during your first outbreak, given that you probably won’t be expecting it. But, over time, you will be better able to recognize the tell-tale signs and know when it’s time to act.
Treatment Options + Pricing
If you experience outbreaks often, a daily dose of valacyclovir can prevent them and make it less likely that youll pass herpes to partners. If your outbreaks are less frequent you might choose to only take valacyclovir when you feel an outbreak coming on this will lessen the outbreaks severity and help it heal faster. We bill insurance if you have it, and out-of-pocket prices are detailed below.
|$0 + applicable co-pays or deductible||$45 for a 3 month supply|
|Valacyclovir for Daily Prevention|
*For a 90-day supply of daily valacyclovir the out-of-pocket price is 83 cents per pill.
Side Effects And Follow
Side effects with these herpes drugs are considered mild, and health experts believe these drugs are safe in the long term. Acyclovir is the oldest of the three, and its safety has been documented in people taking suppressive therapy for several years.
People taking suppressive therapy should see their doctor at least once a year to decide if they should continue. You may find taking the pills every day to be inconvenient, the drugs may not work for you, or you may naturally have fewer outbreaks as time goes on. Your doctor can help you make treatment choices to suit your needs.
Also Check: Which Antiviral Is Best For Herpes
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.
A Quick Look At The 6 Best At
- Best herpestest subscription:LetsGetChecked
- Best convenient herpestest:MyLAB Box
- Best affordable herpes test:HealthLabs
- Best test for early herpes detection:Priority STD
- Best herpes test for quick results: STDcheck
MNT chooses at-home tests that meet the following criteria where possible:
- Laboratories: Where possible, MNT will choose companies that process test samples in labs. This means they follow state and federal regulations.
- Budget: MNT chooses at-home tests that suit a wide range of budgets.
- Privacy: MNT includes companies that offer robust and transparent privacy measures, such as data protection and discreet packaging.
- Test result speed: MNT selects companies that inform customers when they will receive their test results and whether they will receive them via email, app, or phone.
- Further support: MNT will indicate whether a company offers further support, such as a follow-up phone consultation with a doctor to discuss test results.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
Read Also: Can You Cure Herpes Type 2
Is There Any Resistance To Genital Herpes Medication
Resistance to drugs that treat genital herpes even after 20 years of use is very rare. Herpes medications may not work as well in patients who are very immunosuppressed and have been treated with these drugs for a long time. Each individuals response to treatment may vary. In some cases, patients may need more drugs to suppress their viral outbreaks than others.
How Effective Are Medications For Herpes
Prescription antiviral medications have proven effectiveness in managing HSV symptoms.
A 2017 study comparing the antiviral medications acyclovir, famciclovir, penciclovir and valacyclovir to treat herpes simplex labialis found all antiviral medications were effective to shorten healing time for lesions and reducing pain. The comparison study found valacyclovir had the fastest healing time and pain reduction.
You May Like: Does Abreva Work On Herpes