Tuesday, September 20, 2022

What You Need To Know About Herpes

Is There Any Resistance To Genital Herpes Medication

What You Need to Know About Genital Herpes

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.

What Else Should I Know

Genital herpes is a lifelong condition, but there are ways to manage it. If you have genital herpes:

  • Take medicines to stop outbreaks or make them less frequent and less severe.
  • Help reduce the risk of spreading genital herpes to others by taking medicines, always using a condom during sex, and avoiding sex during outbreaks.

Genital Herpes And Pregnancy

It is important to avoid contracting herpes during pregnancy. A first episode during pregnancy can create a greater risk of transmission to a newborn.

Fortunately, it is rare for women with genital herpes to infect their babies. If you know that 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, a C-section may be recommended. Depending on individual diagnosis, though, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists endorses suppressive therapy to reduce the frequency of C-section.

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Shocking What You Need To Know About Herpes

Herpes can lie dormant for many years without causing any visible symptoms.

Does the word herpes make you anxious?

Fearful?

You must know Ask yourself!

Do I have herpes?

This is definitely not a question any of us relish asking, let alone answering.

Though the thought of herpes might make you nervous, you should take comfort in knowing that youre not the only one.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , about 776,000 Americans contract new herpes infections every year. So as you can see, herpes can affect anyone and everyone.

Now without further ado, lets address some of the questions you may have about this common and treatable sexually transmitted disease .

What Does Genital Herpes Look Like

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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:

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.

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Can Herpes Be Treated Or Cured

Sorry for the bad news, but herpes is an incurable disease.

Neither HSV-1 nor HSV-2 can be cured once youve contracted either infection, you essentially have it for the rest of your life till death do you part.

However, there is a silver lining there are antiviral medications like acyclovir, famciclovir and valacyclovir that can treat the infection and manage herpes episodes or outbreaks.

What Should I Do If I Have Genital Herpes

If you have genital herpes:

  • See a doctor or nurse as soon as possible for testing and treatment.
  • Take all of the medicine. Even if symptoms go away, you need to finish all of the antiviral medicine.
  • Tell your sex partner so they can be tested and treated if necessary.
  • Avoid any sexual contact while you are being treated for genital herpes or while you have an outbreak.
  • Remember that genital herpes is a lifelong disease. Even though you may not have a genital herpes outbreak for long periods of time, you can still pass the virus to another person at any time. Talk with your doctor or nurse about how to prevent passing the virus to another person.

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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.

When To Test For Herpes

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If you suspect youâve been exposed to the herpes infection, make an appointment with your healthcare provider to get tested. There is a blood test that could tell you if you carry HSV antibodies in your blood but it is inconclusive in terms of knowing when the virus was contracted and from whom. The only definitive test for diagnosing herpes is through a culture of an active lesion. You may be asymptomatic for a while, so if you suspect a recent sexual partner was infected, itâs time for a blood test. Additionally, if the symptoms listed above start manifesting in you or your sexual partner, schedule an appointment for a culture.

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Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1

Herpes simplex virus type 1 is the

vast majority of HSV-1 cases affect the mouth and its surrounding area. However, it is possible for HSV-1 to affect other areas of the body, such as the genitals.

HSV-1 often develops during childhood and is a lifelong condition. It can spread through non-sexual contact with saliva, such as kissing.

Is Herpes Infection Related To Hiv

Herpes and human immunodeficiency virus are caused by different viruses however, patients infected with these viruses are more likely to transmit either disease to their sexual partners. Patients with herpes are more susceptible to acquiring HIV. Individuals newly diagnosed with herpes should be tested for HIV infection and other sexually transmitted infections.

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Whats The Difference Between Hsv

Lets start with the basics: is a cold sore really the same thing as a blister on your privates? Well, that depends. Historically, HSV-1 was called Oral Herpes usually causing sores on the mouth. HSV-2 was called Genital Herpes, predominantly causing sores on the genitals. These two strains are different, but related, viruses. However, more recently, studies show about half of all genital herpes cases are caused by HSV-1. This major increase is likely due to a few factors, one of which is an increase in oral sex practices.

So essentially both viruses, HSV-1 and 2, can cause sores on either the mouth or genitals, but they have different courses and different recommended treatment. Genital HSV-1 is much less likely to cause recurrent outbreaks, with 40% of people never having one. Plus, people who do have delayed outbreaks usually only have one or two over a three year period. On the other hand, people with an initial symptomatic outbreak caused by HSV-2 will have on average four recurrent outbreaks per year. In addition to the more common outbreaks, HSV-2 is also more likely to be transmitted even when there are no active sores.

Because the viruses behave in different ways, they are treated differently. People with HSV-2 are more likely to benefit from suppressive antiretroviral therapy to prevent outbreaks and protect sexual contacts.

How Do People Get Genital Herpes

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Infections are transmitted through contact with HSV in herpes lesions, mucosal surfaces, genital secretions, or oral secretions. 5 HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be shed from normal-appearing oral or genital mucosa or skin. 7,8 Generally, a person can only get HSV-2 infection during genital contact with someone who has a genital HSV-2 infection. However, receiving oral sex from a person with an oral HSV-1 infection can result in getting a genital HSV-1 infection. 4 Transmission commonly occurs from contact with an infected partner who does not have visible lesions and who may not know that he or she is infected. 7 In persons with asymptomatic HSV-2 infections, genital HSV shedding occurs on 10.2% of days, compared to 20.1% of days among those with symptomatic infections. 8

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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.

Does A Negative Culture Test Mean That A Patient Does Not Have Herpes

One of the biggest problems in diagnosing genital herpes is test sensitivity. There are numerous reasons why cultures can be negative one being that the disease may be caused by something other than herpes. Cultures also can test negative if the samples are not taken in an appropriate manner if there is a long transport time between the clinic and laboratory or if the cultures were taken late in the course of the lesions or sores. Lesions or sores that occur early during a herpes outbreak are much more likely to have positive cultures than cultures taken after the lesions crust are over.

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Understanding Herpes With H Hunter Handsfield Md

Herpes expert H. Hunter Handsfield, MD, explains the basics about genital herpes, including the difference between genital HSV-1 and HSV-2 infection, testing options and the importance of knowing virus type, and the three-prong strategy for prevention. See more herpes videos at sexualhealthTV.com.

Have a question about herpes youd like Dr. Handsfield or our other experts to answer? Visit our Ask the Experts page to learn how.

What Are The Symptoms Of Herpes

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As mentioned earlier, the most common symptom of herpes is the appearance of blisters in the mouth or genitals .

A person can have HSV without showing any signs or symptoms.

Here are a few signs to look for in cases of oral herpes:

  • Mild or severe itching of the mouth or lips
  • Sores or blisters on the lips or inside the mouth
  • Swollen glands in the neck, armpit or groin

This is a common occurrence its the gift that keeps on giving.

You may want to rethink going to first base with your partner until she/he has been tested.

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How To Prevent Spreading Herpes To Your Partner

If you have genital herpes and your partner doesnt, you can spread the virus that causes it to your partner during sex. For this reason, dermatologists recommend the following:

Tell your partner you have genital herpes

Explain that there is a risk that you can give your partner the virus that causes genital herpes. Be sure your partner knows that the following can reduce this risk:

  • Skipping sex when you have sores. To avoid giving your partner genital herpes, its recommended that you skip all sexual contact while you have sores and for one or two days after the sores clear. If your partners skin or genitals touches a herpes sore, your partner can easily catch the virus.

  • Using a condom when youre free of sores. Even when you dont have sores, its possible to spread the virus to your partner. When the virus isnt active, it travels from your skin to nearby nerve cells.A trigger can wake up this virus at any time. Common triggers include stress, illness, and surgery. If the virus wakes up, it travels back to your skin .Sometimes, when the virus wakes up, you wont have any sores or symptoms. During these times, you wont even know that the virus is on your skin . Its during these times that you can spread it to your partner. Condoms help reduce this risk.

Even when taking an antiviral every day, a condom must be used every time you have sex.

Im Pregnant What Do I Need To Know

To get the best care, tell your doctor you have genital herpes, because it could make you more likely to have a miscarriage or give birth too soon.

Its possible to pass along the virus to your baby. For infants, it can be life-threatening. Your doctor can talk to you about how to lower the chances that this will happen.

If you have an outbreak while youre pregnant, your doctor can give you medicine to treat your symptoms and stop them sooner.

Your doctor may give you a drug to prevent an outbreak as your due date gets closer. This is because your baby could get herpes by passing through your birth canal if youre having an outbreak when you go into labor. If thats a possibility, your doctor will most likely want to do a C-section, which is surgery to deliver the baby.

Continued

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Can The Virus Be Transmitted During Childbirth

According to

You may notice some tingling, burning, or itching at the site of the infection before small, painful blisters appear. There could be one blister or a small cluster. These blisters will eventually burst and crust over before they begin to heal.

The blisters that develop during a primary infection may take to fully heal. These blisters can still transmit the virus until theyve healed completely.

Sores often itch, and genital sores may cause pain during urination.

How Is Herpes Simplex Treated

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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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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 To Tell Your Partner About The Herpes

Most people feel that their love lives are over once they discover they have herpes. Well, that is not the truth. Herpes patients have romantic relationships with one another or with persons without the STI.

Having conversations about STDs is not fun, but it is essential to tell your partner if you are infected. That way, you might prevent the condition from spreading.

Here are practical tips that might help to talk about it:

  • Remain calm: Having the STI is a health condition and does not mean you are promiscuous. Therefore, go into the conversation with a positive and relaxed attitude. You can start the conversation by asking your partner if they have even had or been tested before.
  • Know the facts: Be sure to read all the facts. It will help you let your sexual partner know there are methods to manage the condition and prevent transmission.
  • Timing: Choose a time when you will not be interrupted or distracted and in a private place. If you are anxious, you can first talk through your friend or practice speaking in front of a mirror. It helps you know what you are confident in saying.
  • If you think your partner might injure you, you can tell them using a phone call, text message, or email.

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If You Have Genital Herpes Already Can It Be Spread To Other Parts Of The Body Such As The Arms Or Legs

No. Genital herpes cannot be transmitted to another part of your body such as your arm, leg or hand after the first infection occurs. If you have genital HSV II, you will not get HSV II at another site in your body. The immune system produces antibodies that protect other parts of your body from infection. However, there are cases where a person has multiple site infections from the same virus. This is usually acquired at the time of the first infection. For example, if someone has never had herpes but then has oral and genital sex with an infected partner, they can acquire the infection at both sites.

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