Herpes simplex virus (HSV) most often shows up as small blisters or sores on either If it appears the two of you could end up in bed on the first date, that's . by infection with herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), and studies suggest that in . Jul 5, Genital herpes is caused by infection with the herpes simplex virus (HSV, infection and identify which virus (HSV-1 or HSV-2) is responsible. . and other health professionals up-to-date on the latest medical findings. Sep 9, Don't let genital herpes keeping you from dating. If you are one to be candid with people, you'll want to blurt it out. some who wouldn't mind keeping the intimacy level just short of doing things that could transmit the virus.
And the person may unwittingly already have been exposed to the herpes virus in a previous relationship. All relationships face challenges, most far tougher than herpes. Good relationships stand and fall on far more important issues — including communication, respect and trust. Whether or not this relationship works out, you have enlightened someone with your education and experience about herpes, correcting some of the myths about herpes that cause so much harm.
You have removed the shroud of silence that makes it so difficult for others to speak. And you have confronted a personal issue in your life with courage and consideration. What it means for Partners Your partner has genital herpes.
Your support is very important in helping you and your partner to understand what this means. When your partner goes back to the doctor, you may wish to go too, so that you can find out more about the herpes infection. In the meantime, here are answers to some questions you may have. What is Genital Herpes? Genital herpes is a common infection generally transmitted through sexual contact.
It is caused by one of two members of a family of viruses which also include the viruses causing chickenpox and shingles, and glandular fever. Usually, genital herpes is caused by infection with herpes simplex virus type 2 HSV-2and studies suggest that in some countries, one in five people are infected with this virus. Genital herpes, for most people, is an occasionally recurrent, sometimes painful condition for which effective treatment is now available.
Anyone who is sexually active is at risk of catching genital herpes, regardless of their gender, race or social class. How has my Partner caught Genital Herpes? Genital herpes can be transmitted through direct contact with an infected blister or sore, usually through sexual contact. It can also be transmitted when there are no symptoms present.
HSV-2 infection is usually passed on during vaginal or anal sex. HSV-1 is usually transmitted by oral sex mouth to genital contact. If your partner has only just been diagnosed as having genital herpes, this does not necessarily mean that he or she has been unfaithful to you, or sexually promiscuous in the past. Your partner may have caught genital herpes from you. So it is very easy for you to have unwittingly transmitted the infection to your partner.
The symptoms of the infection vary greatly between individuals — it might be totally unnoticeable in you, but cause severe blistering in your partner. Since the genital herpes virus can be transmitted through oral sex as well as vaginal sex, it is also possible that your partner caught the virus from a cold sore on your mouth or face. Alternatively, your partner may have contracted the herpes virus from a previous sexual partner, perhaps even several years ago.
The herpes virus can remain inactive in the body for long periods, so this may be the first time it has caused symptoms. What are the symptoms of Genital Herpes? If your partner is having a first episode of genital herpes, he or she is likely to feel generally unwell and have fever, headache, and general bone and muscle aches, as well as irritation in the genitals.
This may last for several days, during or after which reddened areas may appear on the genitals. These may develop into painful blisters. The blisters then burst, generally to leave sores which gradually heal, usually without scarring. The severity of this first herpes episode varies between individuals, but for some people it may be severe and last for up to three weeks if not treated. These symptoms should quickly resolve with treatment. The doctor should have given your partner a course of antiviral treatment.
This is an effective medicine which, although it does not cure genital herpes, can speed recovery and reduce the severity of the herpes episode. There are also other steps which your partner can take to relieve the pain of genital herpes. However, for many people who have genital herpes, the physical symptoms are far outweighed by the emotional stress relating to the diagnosis.
Get the facts about Herpes in relationships
There are many misconceptions about genital herpes, including the belief that it is associated with promiscuity, and these have given it a reputation which may cause your partner to feel angry and shocked by the diagnosis. Anxiety, guilt, loss of assertiveness and fear of rejection are also common emotions. Your support can be very important in helping your partner to deal with these feelings and to minimise the effect of genital herpes on his or her life.
How do I know if I have Genital Herpes? Until recently, diagnosis could only be made by clinical symptoms and swabs from an active herpes episode. However, there are commercially available blood tests becoming available which can distinguish between herpes simplex virus type 1 HSV-1 and herpes simplex virus type 2 HSV-2 antibodies. The time taken to develop antibodies is usually two to six weeks after infection, but can be up to six months.
It is also important to know that false positives and false negatives are common in these tests. Because of the limitations of a blood test to diagnose herpes, it is recommended you discuss the implications of the test with someone who has experience with them.
If you think you might be showing signs of the infection, consult your doctor. Do the symptoms of Genital Herpes return? The symptoms of genital herpes may reappear from time to time. This is because once the herpes virus is acquired, it stays permanently in the body. Most of the time it remains inactive, but every so often it may reactivate and cause another outbreak.
4 Questions You Probably Have About Dating With Herpes
Each individual is different — some people never have a recurrence; others may have recurrences several times a year. However, recurrent outbreaks are usually shorter and less severe than the first herpes episode. Certain events or situations can trigger recurrences, and you may be able to help your partner avoid or reduce the trigger factors, which may include stress at work or home, fatigue, ill health, loss of sleep, friction due to sexual intercourse, and menstruation in women.
If your partner has frequent or severe episodes of genital herpes, or if the recurrent outbreaks are causing a lot of anxiety for your partner, then he or she may benefit from suppressive therapy taking oral antiviral tablets continuouslywhich prevents or reduces recurrences.
What can we do to reduce my chances of getting the Herpes infection? If you take the necessary precautions, the chances of getting the herpes virus from your partner are reduced. Genital herpes does not mean abstinence from sex or a reduced enjoyment of sex.
The continued use of condoms in a long-term relationship is a personal decision that only the couple can make. Most find that as the importance of the HSV infection in their relationship is seen in perspective, that condom use becomes less relevant if this is the only reason condoms are being used.
However, most couples choose to avoid genital skin-to-skin contact during an active episode of herpes because this is when the herpes virus is most readily transmitted. This period includes the time from when your partner first has warning signs of an outbreak, such as a tingling or burning in the genitals, until the last of the sores has healed. Also, sexual activity prolongs the healing of the episode. Herpes transmission risk is increased if there are any breaks in the skin. For example, if you have thrush or small abrasions from sexual intercourse, often due to insufficient lubrication.
It can be helpful to use a lubricant specifically for sexual intercourse and avoid sex if you have thrush. Sexual lubricant is helpful right at the start of sexual activity. Sores in other areas — such as the buttocks and thighs — can be just as contagious as those in the genital area, and care should be taken to avoid direct contact with such sores during sex. At other times, there is still a small risk of transmitting the herpes infection through a process known as asymptomatic shedding, even if your partner is showing no signs of genital herpes.
This risk can be reduced significantly if a person with herpes takes suppressive oral antiviral treatment. If you or your partner has a cold sore, it is advisable to avoid oral sex as this can spread the herpes virus to the genitals. You cannot catch genital herpes by sharing cups, towels or bath water, or from toilet seats. You can still cuddle, share a bed, or kiss. Where can I get more information and advice? After you have read this booklet and discussed genital herpes with your partner, you might have specific questions or concerns about herpes.
Continue to go back to your doctor or counsellor until all your queries about genital herpes are answered. Sexual Health Clinics also provide confidential free treatment, management and information. In some areas, there are local genital herpes support groups that can be a valuable source of information and support. Controlling recurrent Genital Herpes: Aciclovir has been used for this indication for a number of years now and found to be highly effective in controlling herpes recurrences.
Some people with genital herpes have identified factors which may influence frequency or severity of recurrences. Factors such as stress, diet and lifestyle may be worth considering when looking at ways of managing herpes in your life. Each case is individual and what works for one may not work for another. Frequent or severe recurrences of genital herpes infection may interfere with normal work and social activities, and cause disruption to your sex life. However, there are steps which you can take to reduce outbreaks and help bring the herpes virus under control.
This section explains what you can do and answers some other questions which you may have about living with genital herpes. Recurrences Once you have acquired the herpes simplex virus HSV-2 it remains permanently resident in your body, living in a structure called the dorsal root ganglion, which is part of the nervous tissue located near to the base of the spinal column.
It spreads down the nerve to break out on the skin from time to time. Most of the time it is inactive, but every so often something happens to reactivate it, which causes the symptoms you recognise.Herpes And Dating: 7 Things You Need To Know with Alexandra Harbushka - Life With Herpes
Sometimes the herpes virus can reactivate and be shed without recognisable herpes symptoms asymptomatic shedding. It is not known exactly why the herpes virus becomes active again.
Some people recognise certain trigger factors which contribute to an outbreak. These may include friction due to sexual intercourse, ill health, stress, fatigue, depression, loss of sleep, direct sunlight and menstruation. Many people find that as the years go by the number and severity of their herpes recurrences naturally diminish.
Education and counselling will often help an individual cope with recurrences. People who make contact with a support group for people with genital herpes often describe this as being a turning point in their coping with genital herpes in their life. Suppressive therapy involves taking an oral antiviral drug every day for prolonged periods. 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.
How effective is suppressive therapy? For example, a very large study found that people who had an average of over 12 herpes occurrences a year, could reduce the frequency of their herpes outbreaks to less than two a year after one year of continuous suppressive therapy. The study also showed that if recurrences do occur during suppressive therapy, they are usually less severe and shorter lasting. I now take aciclovir mg twice a day and have not had any outbreaks since. If your outbreaks are frequent, I really recommend it.
Your doctor may agree that suppressive antiviral therapy is suitable for you if one of the following applies to you: You are having frequent herpes recurrences.
You have less frequent but particularly severe or long lasting herpes outbreaks. You find recurrences of genital herpes are making you depressed, anxious or withdrawn, or the emotional upset caused to you by genital herpes is disrupting your social activities or sex life. Such feelings can themselves bring on a recurrence and so you can easily get into a vicious cycle. Taking suppressive therapy, perhaps only for a short time, can help you break the cycle and give you a sense of control over the infection.
You experience severe pain neuralgia due to recurrent herpes episodes. You have only a few herpes recurrences but they always occur during specific situations, for example, when you have exams or go on holiday.
Dating With Herpes: How to Tell Your Partner - Health
You may wish to start suppressive therapy before you go on holiday and continue on it until you return, thereby reducing the chance of a recurrence. You have recurrences when you are starting a new relationship — suppressive therapy may decrease the risk of herpes transmission to your partner. You know that stress is a trigger factor for your herpes recurrences, and you are going through a stressful period, for example a new job or a recent death in the family.
You want to avoid a situation which would be spoilt by a herpes recurrence, for example if you are going on your honeymoon. You have another illness which triggers a recurrence of herpes — a course of suppressive therapy may be appropriate until the condition triggering the outbreak has resolved.
How do I take suppressive therapy? There are two oral antivirals available for suppressive treatment in New Zealand: Aciclovir tablets mg taken twice daily, morning and night. If you start suppressive therapy, it is important not to miss any doses and to take it regularly at approximately 12 hourly intervals.
If your recurrences are not suppressed by this dose, you should discuss this with your doctor as taking mg four times a day may be more effective. Aciclovir is also avalable in a soluble form if you are unable to swallow tablets. Valtrex tablets mg taken once a day. This is a new generation antiviral with better absorption. How long will I need to take the treatment? A pooled analysis of the effect of condoms in preventing HSV-2 acquisition.
Does douching increase risk for sexually transmitted infections? A prospective study in high-risk adolescents. Am J Obstet Gynecol. Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, Herpes simplex virus infections of the newborn.
Herpes simplex virus 2 infection increases HIV acquisition in men and women: Genital herpes is the second most common STI in the United States Some people with herpes get recurrent blisters and ulcers on their genital areas Many people with herpes have no symptoms, but still are able to continue spreading the disease There is no cure for herpes, but outbreaks and symptoms can be managed What is herpes?
Genital herpes is a very common sexually transmitted infection STI caused by the herpes simplex virus type 2 HSV-2 and less commonly, by herpes simplex virus type 1 HSV-1 1. Historically, these two different type of herpes viruses were known for where they caused infection—oral as HSV-1, and genital as HSV-2—but this is no longer true. What are the symptoms of herpes?
Symptoms of genital herpes differ for everyone, and many people may not have classic symptoms or any symptoms at all.
Some people may suspect that their symptoms are caused by another type of infection 2. Herpes symptoms, for those who experience them, are often unpleasant.
The initial herpes outbreak can be shocking and the most severe outbreak. The first outbreak primary infection After contracting the herpes simplex virus, symptoms may start to appear around 2 to 10 days later 4. This first infection is known as the primary infection. The classic symptoms of genital herpes involve the skin: Next, these blisters crust over or ulcer turn into open wounds. They eventually regress, leaving the skin and mucous membrane to heal over 4,5.
These blisters are often painful, itchy, can cause tenderness, and may be accompanied by painful urination 5. In women and people with female reproductive tracts, herpes lesions can appear on the vulva, perineum, buttocks, anal area, cervix, and inside of the vagina 6and some people may experience spotting and vaginal discharge 7. The first outbreak may also be accompanied by full body symptoms, such as fever, body aches, and swollen lymph nodes 3,6.
The first outbreak of genital herpes lesions usually lasts between two to four weeks long 4.
Genital herpes 101
While skin symptoms are present, a person is very contagious, as herpes viruses are present in the blister fluid and over the entire infected area 5. Additional outbreaks non-primary infections People with genital herpes who are infected with HSV-1 can also contract HSV-2 in their genitals or vice versa. This is called a non-primary infection, and is often not as severe in presentation as the primary infection 5.
After the initial outbreak recurrent infections Herpes outbreaks can keep coming back rather unexpectedly. This is because the herpes virus takes up permanent residence in nerve roots, and can never truly be eliminated 7. Genital herpes outbreaks that occur after the primary infection are called recurrent infections 1. Fever and general feelings of being unwell are not usually present with recurrent infections 4. The number of recurrent outbreaks decreases over time 4. During recurrent infections, something called viral shedding occurs, meaning that a person is contagious and can pass on herpes virus to another partner 2,4.
The best way to avoid transmitting herpes if you know you have it is to always use a condom or another barrier method. Most people who have recurrent infections have less severe lesions for a shorter period of time, compared to the primary infection 5.
How is genital herpes transmitted? Genital herpes is spread through direct sexual contact of mucous membranes the soft moist skin present at the openings of your genitals and mouthherpes lesions and fluids, as well as through genital fluids and saliva 1,7. Viral shedding occurs when someone is contagious and able to pass on the virus. If herpes blisters are present, viral shedding will occur, making the person very contagious 8.
If no blisters are present, this does not not mean that they are not contagious. Viral shedding can still happens in absence of active lesions, which means a person can still pass on the genital herpes virus to an unsuspecting partner 2,8,9,10, 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, 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 13the amount of people with genital herpes infections is likely even higher.
Worldwide, a range of 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 14 ; this is because herpes is more easily transmitted to the female partner during sex 3.
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.