Sexuality In Midlife And Beyond
The physical transformations the body undergoes with age have a major influence on sexuality. This Special Health Report, Sexuality in Midlife and Beyond, will take you through the stages of sexual response and explain how aging affects each. Youll also learn how chronic illnesses, common medications, and emotional issues can influence your sexual capabilities. Finally, youll find a detailed discussion of various medical treatments, counseling, and self-help techniques to address the most common types of sexual problems.
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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 Dormant Herpes Springs Back To Life
Researchers may have finally revealed the way that herpes is able to go into and come out of hiding.
A herpes simplex virus infection lasts for life. No vaccination can prevent it, and no treatment can fully eradicate it.
The problem for doctors is that, most of the time, herpes lies dormant in nerve cells and becomes treatable only during unpredictable periods of activity.
Now, researchers many from Cornell Universitys Baker Institute for Animal Health, in Ithaca, NY may have discovered what allows the genes in HSV to sometimes turn on.
The researchers have found that herpes viral DNA sometimes escapes suppressive protein wrappings in nerve cells and becomes reactivated.
Luis M. Schang, Ph.D., the senior author of the summary of these findings, explains that herpes on-again-off-again nature is why antivirals cannot cure the infection and why, so far, its been impossible to develop a vaccine. He points out that Latency and reactivation are a major focus for herpes virus research.
The teams findings may provide the key to more successful HSV research and treatment. A summary of their work appears in PLOS Pathogens.
3.7 billion people under the age of 50 have an HSV-1 infection, which usually causes oral herpes. They also report that 417 million people aged 1549 have an HSV-2 infection, which usually causes genital herpes.
In addition, among people with compromised immune systems, the symptoms of herpes infection may be more severe and frequent.
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What Causes Herpes Simplex
Herpes simplex viruses spread from person to person through close contact. You can get a herpes simplex virus from touching a herpes sore. Most people, however, get herpes simplex from an infected person who does not have sores. Doctors call this asymptomatic viral shedding.
How people get herpes around their mouth
A person with HSV-1 can pass it to someone else by:
Touching the persons skin, such as pinching a childs cheek
Sharing objects such as silverware, lip balm, or a razor
How people get herpes on their genitals
You can get genital herpes after coming into contact with HSV-1 or HSV-2. Most people get genital herpes from HSV-2, which they get during sex. If someone has a cold sore and performs oral sex, this can spread HSV-1 to the genitals, and cause herpes sores on the genitals.
Mothers can give the herpes virus to their baby during childbirth. If the baby is born during the motherâs first episode of genital herpes, the baby can have serious problems.
Can I Be Treated To Prevent Genital Herpes Transmission To My Partner
Yes. A large study showed that if one partner has herpes and the other partner is uninfected, treating the infected partner with suppressive therapy can prevent transmission of symptomatic herpes in over 90% of cases. This is an option for couples who are interested in having unprotected sex or who are planning to become pregnant.
If you are entering into a new relationship and are aware that you have herpes simplex infection, you owe it to your partner to notify them before having sex.
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What Happens At A Sexual Health Clinic
The doctor or nurse at the sexual health clinic will:
- ask about your symptoms and your sexual partners
- use a small cotton bud to take some fluid from 1 of your blisters or sores for testing
The test cannot:
- be done if you do not have visible blisters or sores
- tell you how long you have had herpes or who you got it from
Symptoms might not appear for weeks or even years after you’re infected with the herpes virus.
How Common Is Genital Herpes
Genital herpes is a very common STI, but since many people are asymptomatic or are in a phase between visible outbreaks, it is perceived as less common than it actually is.
Genital herpes caused by HSV-2 is estimated to the second-most prevalent STI in the United States of America, affecting almost 24 million people between 15 and 49 years of age .
But this estimate only accounts for people with the HSV-2 virus. Since genital herpes is increasingly being caused by HSV-1 , the amount of people with genital herpes infections is likely even higher.
Worldwide, a range of 274-678 million people aged 15 to 49 years old are estimated to be living with HSV-2, with a global prevalence of around 1 in 10 people having HSV-2 .
More women than men are affected by HSV-2 this is because herpes is more easily transmitted to the female partner during sex .
Since genital herpes cannot be cured, the number of infected people in a population can only grow as more and more people become infected. The only way to reduce genital herpes within a population is through prevention.
Oral herpes caused by HSV-1 can also be a source of genital herpes. Across the world, it is estimated that 2 out of 3 people under 50 years of ageâaround 3.7 billion peopleâare infected with HSV-1 .
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Why Do Some Get More Outbreaks Than Others
Research has founda gene which helps some people control the virus so they get no further episodes. So if you get a lot of outbreaks, you can blame a parent! However, good or bad genes, you can still help your body to prevent outbreaks see antiviral treatment, or you can try self-help treatments. There are two pages of suggestions on our Tips to prevent recurrences leaflet. It is available to members. Outbreaks normally decline in frequency and severity over time.
Can I Treat Herpes Simplex At Home
Avoiding known triggers, such as illness or stress, can help reduce how often you have herpes outbreaks.
How can I ease my symptoms during an outbreak of HSV-1 ?
- Over-the-counter creams such as L-lysine, benzocaine or docosanol .
- Applying ice to blisters or sores.
How can I ease my symptoms during an outbreak of HSV-2 ?
- Apply an ice pack to your genitals. Wrap the ice pack in a washcloth or apply it over your underwear.
- Keep your genitals dry. Wear cotton or other nonsynthetic underpants and avoid tight-fitting clothes. Moist sores take longer to heal.
- Soak in a warm bath.
- Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain.
- Topical 1% or 2% lidocaine may be used as a topical analgesic.
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Clearing Up The Misconception
In some cases, these beliefs may be true. People do lie about their infection status and cheat on their partners. However, your partner may not have cheated or realized they had herpes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , herpes is often asymptomatic , or the symptoms are so minor that most people dont know that theyre even infected.
A person may never find out unless they get screened or one of their partners has a first herpes outbreak and sends them to get tested. In other words, when someone says, I didnt know I had herpes, they may be telling you the truth.
As for the assumption that your partner cheated on you, there are problems with that too. People who are infected with herpes are more infectious at certain times than others.
Asymptomatic shedding does occur, but not at the same levels all the time. That means that transmission of the virus could occur one night or one year into a sexual relationship.
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How To Keep A Flare
Antiviral medication is the best way to manage a flare-up. Another key step is to know your triggers. Many people find certain things cause reactivation, including food, stress, clothes, sunlight, and certain medications.
Other strategies for managing flare-ups include:
- Getting plenty of sleep
- Eating a well-balanced, whole-foods diet
- Getting regular exercise
- Using warm water to ease discomfort
- Using a separate towel for genitals and washing after each use
- Wearing loose, cotton undergarments
- Avoiding touching blisters or sores
Also, avoid putting ointments and creams on the sores. These prevent air from reaching the sores and slow healing.
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Why You Should Go To A Sexual Health Clinic
You can see a GP, but they’ll probably refer you to a sexual health clinic if they think you might have genital herpes.
Sexual health clinics treat problems with the genitals and urine system.
Many sexual health clinics offer a walk-in service, where you do not need an appointment.
They’ll often get test results quicker than GP practices and you do not have to pay a prescription fee for treatment.
What Can I Do If I Have Herpes Simplex 2
Many people who find out they have herpes feel depressed knowing they’ll always have the virus and can give it to others. But you arent alone. Herpes is one of the most common STIs, both in the U.S. and worldwide. If you have herpes, you should:
- Learn all you can about it. Information will help you to manage your disease and feel better about yourself.
- Talk about your illness with your doctor.
If you have herpes, you can still:
- Have sex if you use a condom or dental dam , and you tell your partner about your illness. Some couples, who have sexual relations only with each other, may choose not to use condoms even though one partner has herpes. Because each situation is different, you should ask your doctor if this is the right choice for you in your relationship.
- Have children. People with herpes can still give birth to healthy babies. If you have herpes and plan to have children, discuss your illness with your healthcare provider.
If you have herpes, you should also get checked for HIV and other STIs .
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Talk To Your Doctor About Antiviral Medications
There are two brands of antiviral medications available to treat herpes. Either can be used to take daily as a suppressive therapy or episodically when there is an outbreak. Discuss with your doctor how often you are experiencing outbreaks and your symptoms. Together you can decide which, if any, medication is best for you.
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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Does The Vaccine Help Prevent It
The CDC suggests getting the shingles vaccine Shingrix if you’re a healthy adult ages 50 or older, or if you are19 years of age and older and are or will be immunodeficient or immunosuppressed due to disease or therapy.. It was approved in 2017 and has been found to be more than 90% effective in preventing shingles and the complications caused by the disease. Even if you’ve already had shingles, the CDC says the vaccine can help prevent a second round of it. Shingrix is preferred over an earlier vaccine, Zostavax, which was removed from the market in 2020. You should also get it if you previously had the Zostavax vaccine.
Shingrix is also approved for those 18 years or older who may be immunodeficient or immunosuppressedbecause of an illness or treatment.
Talk to your doctor about when to get the vaccine. If you’ve just gotten over shingles, the CDC recommends waiting at least until the shingles rash has disappeared.
You should not get the Shingrix vaccine if you:
- Are pregnant or nursing
- Are allergic to the vaccine
- You tested negative for immunity to chickenpox if so, you should ask about the chickenpox vaccine.
I Had Lesions When I Was Evaluated But My Culture Was Negative Does This Mean That I Dont Have Herpes
Not necessarily. Although lesions can be caused by something other than herpes, false negative herpes tests can occur if the samples are not taken appropriately, if there is a long transport time between the clinic and the laboratory, or if cultures were taken late in the course of the lesions. Lesions that occur early in the course of a herpes outbreak are much more likely to have positive cultures than cultures taken after the lesions crust over.
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Complications Of Cold Sores
Cold sores are usually mild, but may cause complications in rare cases. People with weak immune systems caused by illness or treatments such as chemotherapy are particularly at risk of complications.
If the infection affects the mouth or throat, dehydration sometimes occurs if drinking fluids becomes painful. Young children are particularly at risk of becoming dehydrated.
What Does Thescience Show
The new study looks atwhat causes the infected nerve cells to manifest as recurring cold sores.Factors such as stress, illness and plenty of sun exposure are known to inducerecurrence, but scientists now have a better idea of why. They have discoveredthat cytokine is released into the body when a person is ill, tired, stressedor exposed to ultraviolet light including sunlight. Cytokine then reacts withDLK . This reaction can reactivate the Herpesvirus and lead to cold sores.
Scientists believe that targeting the DLK may be a good way to prevent Herpes recurrence. This new information could lead to future studies surrounding treatment for Herpes.
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You Can Only Get Genital Herpes If Your Partner Has An Active Infection With Sores Right Wrong
A person can be exposed to the virus and pass it to someone else without ever having symptoms. It happens more often than youd think. Thats because the virus can exist in genital fluids even without any ulcers. This is called “asymptomatic shedding of virus.” Although there is a lot more active virus when there are sores, asymptomatic shedding is probably how most people get herpes. Whats more, only one out of four people who tests positive for genital herpes actually knows that they have the virus. Thats a lot of people. Combine the two and you have many people unknowingly infecting others.
Many people who learn they have genital herpes are shocked. They often didnt see any sores on their partner or that their partner had never had any ulcers, ever. This is common and true, because people can have genital herpes and not know it.
Get Plenty Of Sleep For Better Physical And Mental Health
Americans are notoriously sleep deprived, but if you have genital herpes, buck this unhealthy trend. Getting plenty of quality sleep affects every aspect of your life your physical and mental health, performance at school or work, and appearance.
To improve your sleep hygiene, follow some quick tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Pay Attention To What You Eat
ASHA reports that some people believe foods containing the amino acid arginine, such as legumes and whole grains, can contribute to outbreaks. A few older studies, conducted in 1981 and 1987, showed a possible connection, but ASHA states there is no clinical evidence to support these studies. However, because triggers may vary based on the individual, keep track of the foods you eat to determine if there is a connection.
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