Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Where Does Herpes Come From

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

How Does Herpes Simplex Spread

Herpes spreads through close contact with a person who has the infection. The virus can be found in skin and saliva. If you have herpes simplex, you are most likely to pass the virus to another person when you have sores. But you can infect someone else even if you have no symptoms. Healthcare providers call this asymptomatic viral shedding.

People may get HSV-1 through

  • Touching a persons skin near the mouth.
  • Sharing food utensils, lip balm or razors.
  • If you receive oral sex from someone who has a cold sore, it may spread a herpes infection to your genitals.

People may get HSV-2 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.

Scientists Find Achilles Heel Of Coronavirus Herpes And Influenza

Most people who get a virus later recover with no long-term problems. This is true even for COVID-19, the coronavirus that has spread across the entire globe and stolen countless lives.

But not everyones immune system is capable of fighting back and winning.

New research has discovered how viruses gain a foothold in the body and what could be the Achilles heel that allows us to defeat coronavirus for good.

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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.

Herpes infection doesnt usually pose a serious health risk. The risk of a health complication due to herpes is higher in infants and if you have HIV/AIDS, cancer or an organ transplant.

Im Pregnant How Could Genital Herpes Affect My Baby

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If you are pregnant and have genital herpes, prenatal care visits are very important. Some research suggest that a genital herpes infection may lead to miscarriage or make it more likely to deliver your baby too early. You can pass herpes to your unborn child before birth, but it more commonly passes during delivery. This can lead to a deadly infection in your baby . It is important that you avoid getting genital herpes during pregnancy. Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had a genital herpes diagnosis or symptoms. Also tell them about any possible exposure to genital herpes.

If you have genital herpes, you may need to take anti-herpes medicine towards the end of your pregnancy. This medicine may reduce your risk of having signs or symptoms of genital herpes when you deliver. At the time of delivery, your healthcare provider should carefully examine you for herpes sores. If you have signs or symptoms of genital herpes at delivery, a C-section is likely to occur.

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Now That We Know The Origin Of Herpes

A combination of herpes simplex 2 and HIV can affect pregnant women. Women who contract it and pass it to their unborn child are more likely to miscarry. In addition, encephalitis is associated with it. People with herpes are also stigmatized, which can negatively affect self-esteem, interpersonal relationships, and their health in general.

The genetics of herpes is also causing more modern discoveries through studies of its genetics. Gene-editing technology was shown to suppress or eliminate the viral infection in a 2016 study. Antiretroviral drugs currently control the virus.

Research is required, so we wont have gene-editing kits at the local drugstore before your next breakout, but its definitely a promising development. In the meantime, theres no need to fret. HPV-2 can definitely be treated, but now you know what ancient creature to scream at.

What Do Herpes Sores Look Like At Different Stages

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There are two types of herpes virus that cause sorespainful blisters that can break open and ooze fluid. Herpes simplex virus 1 causes oral herpes and sometimes genital herpes, and herpes simplex virus 2 mostly causes genital herpes. Sores caused by HSV-1 and HSV-2 look similar. Herpes virus infects nerve groups, so you only get sores at the site of infection. If you have genital herpes, the sores are in the genital area. If you have oral herpes, they stay in the oral/nose area.

Herpes sores develop in five stages. Here is how they look at each stage.

Stage I:

  • Initially, many people infected with herpes virus experience burning, tingling or numbness on and around the sores. This happens a day before stage II. This is called prodrome.

  • When you get infected for the first time, you may develop flu-like symptoms at this stage.

Stage II:

  • Blisters appear on the margins of the lips, nose, cheeks or inside of the mouth or on the genitals. They may be painful or tender.

  • The skin around blisters becomes red.

  • Fever-like symptoms developed during the first stage may continue.

  • This stage lasts for about one to three days.

Stage III:

  • Blisters may merge and then burst. They ooze and liberate fluid, which may be clear or light yellow.

  • Oozing clears leaving behind a shallow open sore.

  • The duration of this stage is anywhere between one to three days.

Stage IV:

  • This stage doesnt develop in moist areas such as inside the mouth and genitals.

Stage V:

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How Is Genital Herpes Diagnosed

Often, your doctor can diagnose genital herpes by looking at visible sores. Your doctor or nurse may also use a cotton swab to take a fluid sample from a sore to test in a lab.

Genital herpes can be hard to diagnose, especially between outbreaks. Blood tests that look for to the herpes virus can help diagnose herpes in women without symptoms or between outbreaks.

A is not used to detect genital herpes.

How Common Is Genital Herpes

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 40 million to 50 million adults in the United States have genital herpes. HSV II infection is more common in women and in people who have had more than five sexual partners. Most people with HSV II do not know they have it, because it does not always cause symptoms.

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How Does Genital Herpes Affect A Pregnant Woman And Her Baby

Neonatal herpes is one of the most serious complications of genital herpes.5,16 Healthcare providers should ask all pregnant women if they have a history of genital herpes.11 Herpes infection can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy or childbirth, or babies may be infected shortly after birth, resulting in a potentially fatal neonatal herpes infection. 17 Infants born to women who acquire genital herpes close to the time of delivery and are shedding virus at delivery are at a much higher risk for developing neonatal herpes, compared with women who have recurrent genital herpes . 16,18-20 Thus, it is important that women avoid contracting herpes during pregnancy. Women should be counseled to abstain from intercourse during the third trimester with partners known to have or suspected of having genital herpes. 5,11

Whats The Difference Between Genital Herpes And Oral Herpes

Because there are 2 different kinds of herpes simplex viruses that can live on many body parts, lots of people are confused about what to call these infections. But its actually pretty simple:

  • When you get either HSV-1 or HSV-2 on or around your genitals , its called genital herpes.

  • When you get either HSV-1 or HSV-2 in or around your lips, mouth, and throat, its called oral herpes. Oral herpes sores are sometimes called cold sores or fever blisters.

HSV-1 usually causes oral herpes, and HSV-2 usually causes genital herpes each strain prefers to live on its favorite area. But its totally possible for both types of herpes simplex to infect either area. For example, you can get HSV-1 on your genitals if someone with a cold sore on their lips gives you oral sex. And you can get HSV-2 in your mouth if you give oral sex to someone with HSV-2 on their genitals.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Herpes Zoster

At first, people with shingles may have a burning, itching, numb, or tingling pain that can be severe, NINDS says. It usually happens on one side of the body. People develop shingles after theyve had a previous chickenpox exposure. When the virus reactivates, it causes shingles.

After a few days, a rash of fluid-filled blisters will appear in one area on one side of the body, NINDS explains. Shingles most commonly shows up in a band called a dermatome that goes from one side of your midsection around your waistline.

The pain from shingles can varysome people mostly itch Others can have pain from a gentle touch.

Can I Still Have Sex If I Have Herpes

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If you have herpes, you should talk to your sex partner about their risk. Using condoms may help lower this risk but it will not get rid of the risk completely. Having sores or other symptoms of herpes can increase your risk of spreading the disease. Even if you do not have any symptoms, you can still infect your sex partners.

You may have concerns about how genital herpes will impact your health, sex life, and relationships. While herpes is not curable, it is important to know that it is manageable with medicine. Daily suppressive therapy can lower your risk of spreading the virus to others. Talk to a healthcare provider about your concerns and treatment options.

A genital herpes diagnosis may affect how you will feel about current or future sexual relationships. Knowing how to talk to sexual partners about STDs is important.

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Treatment For Genital Herpes

Three drugs are approved to treat genital herpes:

These medications are antiviral drugs called nucleoside analogues. The drugs are used initially to treat a first attack of herpes, and then afterward to either treat recurrent outbreaks or reduce frequency of recurrences .

No drug can cure herpes simplex virus. The infection may recur after treatment has been stopped. Even during therapy, an infected person can still transmit the virus to another person. Drugs can, however, reduce the severity of symptoms, improve healing times, and prevent recurrences.

Antiviral drugs for genital herpes are generally given as pills that are taken by mouth. If people experience very severe disease or complications, they need to be hospitalized and receive an antiviral drug intravenously. Acyclovir is also available as an ointment, which can be used as an adjunct for treatment of initial genital herpes.

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Can Women Who Have Sex With Women Get Genital Herpes

Yes. It is possible to get genital herpes, or any other STI, if you are a woman who has sex only with women.

Talk to your partner about her sexual history before having sex, and ask your doctor or nurse about getting tested if you have signs or symptoms of genital herpes. Use a dental dam during oral sex and avoid sexual activity during an outbreak.

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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?

How Can Herpes Be Prevented

Why Herpes Flare Up

Correct and consistent use of latex condoms can reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of transmitting or acquiring genital herpes because herpes virus shedding can occur in areas that are not covered by a condom.25,26

The surest way to avoid transmission of STDs, including genital herpes, is to abstain from sexual contact, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested for STDs and is known to be uninfected.

Persons with herpes should abstain from sexual activity with partners when herpes lesions or other symptoms of herpes are present. It is important to know that even if a person does not have any symptoms, he or she can still infect sex partners. Sex partners of infected persons should be advised that they may become infected and they should use condoms to reduce the risk. Sex partners can seek testing to determine if they are infected with HSV.

Daily treatment with valacyclovir decreases the rate of HSV-2 transmission in discordant, heterosexual couples in which the source partner has a history of genital HSV-2 infection. 27 Such couples should be encouraged to consider suppressive antiviral therapy as part of a strategy to prevent transmission, in addition to consistent condom use and avoidance of sexual activity during recurrences.

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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.

Research has found it is possible for genital herpes to spread through:

  • Oral sex with someone whos infected.
  • Skin-to-skin contact without ejaculation.
  • Touching open sores, including while breastfeeding.
  • Childbirth by a mother 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.

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Myth #: Your Sex Life Is Over

While theres no cure, herpes treatment is simple and can shorten or prevent outbreaks, so you can still have a love life.

People have a disproportionate fear of herpes in relation to any other STI, Grimes says. They feel like their sex lives are ruined forever and thats in no way the case.

If you have the virus, your doctor may prescribe a medication like Zovirax or Valtrex to keep on hand in case of a flare-up. And if you experience outbreaks often, your provider may recommend daily dosing. However you treat it, its worth remembering that herpes is a condition to manage it doesnt define you.

If you have to be perfect for your new partner, that partner will be looking a very, very long time to find a match! Grimes says. Everyone has something, and since one in six Americans between 14-49 have HSV-2, odds are very high that your next partner is in the same boat. The main issue is to have productive conversations around these issues.

So theres no reason for all the stigma and secrecy surrounding herpes, since its safe to assume more people have it than you think. And if youre diagnosed with the virus, your provider will help you find a treatment plan thats easy, effective, and fit for your lifestyle.

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Who Is At Risk Of Having Herpes Simplex

Infants and children are most likely to contract HSV-1 . Contact with a carrier, such as an adult, can spread this virus. Viruses do not only infect adults with sores.

Sexual contact is usually the way in which people contract HSV-2 . In the United States, about 20% of sexually active adults have HSV-2. It is more likely that some people will contract HSV-2. The following people:

  • They are female
  • Have been with many sex partners
  • First time having sex at a young age
  • A sexually transmitted infection
  • A disease or medication has weakened your immune system

The Value Of A Diagnosis

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If you develop any of the symptoms listed above, you should see a doctor for an evaluation. Your doctor may be able to diagnose herpes just by looking at your blisters or sores, and there are also lab tests to diagnose herpes.

Knowing you have genital herpes allows you to take steps to reduce outbreaks and to protect your sexual partner or partners.

According to the CDC, the outlook for an individual and the type of guidance that person needs depends on which virus is causing the genital herpes, HSV-1 or HSV-2. Recurrent outbreaks are much more frequent for genital herpes caused by HSV-2, as compared with cases caused by HSV-1.

The CDC recommends testing to find out which virus is involved.

The CDC also says that people with genital herpes should be tested for HIV infection. If you have herpes, its easier for you to develop an HIV infection because herpes sores give HIV an open path into your body.

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