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The Top Ten Questions About Genital Herpes: Everything You Always Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask
One late-night talk-show owner is superior for his top-ten lists.
I hope he won’t mind, but I’m going to borrow his idea. Here’s my top-ten list of questions asked most often about genital herpes.
They come from patients at my clinic and from the WebMD letter board.
And if your dispute isn’t in here, I risk you’ll find it farther along in the book.
1. How did I procure genital herpes?
Herpes is passed from one individual to another through sexual contact.
You get it from someone who has herpes through intercourse, getting uttered or anal sex, or genital to genital rubbing. You don’t secure it from touching doorknobs or sharing sad jeans or washroom seats—unless, of course, you’re having sex on a wc seat, but that’s for a full different book.
A closely related, often-asked interrogation is, “Could I keep gotten herpes through a sexual encounter that didn’t involve intercourse?” Lap dancing, said sex, genital rubbing, and retaliated masturbation are all alive and well, and materialize with great frequency.
Sometimes these activities transpire with connections who aren’t natural partners or spouses, and that can cause concerns about the wager of obtaining an STI (sexually transmitted infection). First, agreement me assure you with complete certainty that you can’t secure genital herpes while you have your apparel on and someone is “dancing” on your lap. It doesn’t even issue if there’s moisture present.
The virus doesn’t somehow “wick” through textile and befoul the genitals.
When the clothes come off, however, and genitals are rubbing directly together, there is a occure of obtaining herpes.
And the legitimate gamble of receipt genital herpes during a single sexual encounter is remarkably low, but it’s not zero. Receiving spoken sex besides presents some bet too, but now the pledge changes to one of being infected with the cold-sore virus, herpes simplex virus kimd 1 (HSV 1), in the genital area. HSV 1 (very often, vocal herpes) can be transmitted from the entrance of one man to the genitals of a sex comrade through spoken sex, even if the giver doesn’t retain an active cold sore.
And finally, what about when one comrade masturbates another? This is truly inoffensive sex as far as herpes is concerned.
Unless someone has a herpes lesion on his or her hand, which is so infrequent it’s not worth even
considering, masturbation presents no wager for transmission.
“Okay,” you say, “but what if the person touches his or her genitals and then touches mine?” Again, the bet is so low; don’t spend any situation and liveliness even worrying about it.
2. Now that I obtain herpes, can I ever hold sex again?
Yes, you definitely can, but I’m not going to misinform you by maxim that sex bequeath be the equivalent as it was before.
There’s a pledge of giving herpes to an uninfected partner, and you need to pact head-on with that issue.
First, you should inform all future partners about your herpes before you obtain sex so that they can make educated decisions about their hazard of getting infected.
It may be laborious to acquaint your partner, but you’ll comprehend in your core that it’s the redress object to do. If your comrade doesn’t posses herpes (and he or she would absence a blood investigation to know for sure), he or she commit be vulnerable to receipt herpes from you. Daily herpes medication and condoms greatly lessen the pledge of transmission, but neither offers fully complete prevention—not even when used together. If your fellow already has the same genre of herpes you do, then you can own sex reasonable as you did before you had herpes
3. Will genital herpes decrease my life?
That one’s easy— absolutely not! In years past, there was concern that herpes might be linked to cervical cancer, but we sense now that human papillomavirus (HPV), not herpes, causes cervical cancer. I know—it’s feasible to attain all those viruses that begin with H varying up.
4. Can herpes be cured?
Right now, there’s no admitted restore for herpes.
But in 1981 there wasn’t even a treatment for herpes, so look how far we’ve come already! Now we own three extremely benefit medicines, so you reasonable never notice what might develop. There are two kinds of herpes vaccines being studied repair now. One is designed to dissuade herpes infection, and the supplementary to boost herpes, so those are promising projects.
Keep in mind, however, that there are many conditions with no proclaimed cure: diabetes, hypertension, HIV, and thyroid disease, to phrase just a few. We, in the medical profession, aptly govern those conditions, and kinsfolk go on living perfect and jocund lives.
Herpes is exactly like that.
You can promote it and live with it, even though you vision you didn’t have it and that it would go away.
And compared to HIV, diabetes, or hypertension, the physical impression of genital herpes is far less significant.
The gag is receiving your captain in the amend vocation about herpes.
5. Can I give genital herpes to my children or roommates?
No. Again, herpes is a sexually transmitted infection.
It requires direct impact with the genital state to gulf it from one individual to another. (Sex toys are the trifling erasure to this rule.
) There isn’t any gamble of infecting family who live in your home.
Kids aren’t going to attain herpes by touching your soil laundry or sleeping in your bed.
I do suggest that family use their hold towels and washcloths, because these items can stay warm and wettest for a while, and those are the conditions viruses passion most.
Having vocal that, there are no documented cases of anyone ever recipience herpes from a towel. Roommates don’t dearth to needle about acceptance herpes from couch cushions or from sharing galley utensils or bathtubs.
Questions about nonsexual transmission in the home are uncommonly common, but fair remember these three seldom words: “skin to skin” (which is furthermore “mucous membrane to mucous membrane”). That’s how herpes is passed from one individual to another.
6. What’s the boon treatment strategy for my herpes?
That scoffing depends fully on your social and sexual situation, and your feelings about herpes outbreaks.
If you deficiency to diminish the risk of fleeting herpes to someone else, receipt protection medicine every day commit help. And if you’re bothered by outbreaks, daily therapy cede support with that too. If your fellow moreover has herpes, and you aren’t having frequent outbreaks, then feasibly receipt medicine only during outbreaks is enough for you. And, if you don’t lack to transact medicine at all, you don’t retain to.
Herpes isn’t like a bacterial infection, which requires receiving antibiotics to posses it from getting worse.
With herpes, you transact medicine to relieve symptoms or lessen the gamble of passing the virus to someone else, not to permanently achieve rid of your herpes infection.
It’s gain to remember that this alternative isn’t permanent: treatment decisions can be open and amend if your time changes.
7. How do I sense if I really obtain herpes?
There are deserving tests available now for herpes, and they’re much change than what we had only a few years ago. In the past, you had to have a herpes symptom allot to make a diagnosis, but now there are blood antibody tests that detect herpes indisposition even if you’ve never had a symptom. And the swab tests that we retain now are up to four times supplementary sensitive than the older culture-style swab tests.
Finding out that you have herpes through one of these tests is a double-edged sword.
The bad information is that you find out you own herpes, but the wellbeing information is that you now perceive you hold herpes and can oversee it—whereas, if you didn’t notice you had it, you could do zero about it.
8. Who gave me herpes, and how desire retain I had it?
Sometimes these two questions can be answered, but more often they can’t.
If you’ve only had one sex companion in your life and you now hold herpes, you sense where you got it—either from intercourse with that partner or by recipience oral sex from him or her. If you’ve had further than one partner, it’s going to be tougher to level out.
Let’s talk you gain a new skin in the genital area, and you’ve never had one before.
You gain a swab inspection from the sore, and it comes back positive for HSV 2 (herpes simplex virus sort 2). During the identical visit, you gain a blood antibody assessment done for HSV 2, and it comes back negative.
So you own HSV 2 in the sore, but you don’t retain any HSV 2 antibodies in your blood.
You don’t obtain the antibody, because the illness is brand new and not enough instance has foregone by for your device to make it.
That method it’s a new disease that you recently acquired.
A positive IgG antibody appraisal (a specific amiable of blood check that we commit chatter about in big actuality in chapter 4) combined with a positive swab inspection practice that the ailment has been bestow for at least a week or maybe twenty years; with this combination, you can’t recognize how crave you’ve been infected.
Timing is great though. Fifty percent of people cede make the antibody within three weeks of sickness (Ashley-Morrow, Krantz, and Wald 2003), so if you’re going to try to nail down new disease versus old, the tests have to ensue quite quickly after the top symptoms show up. But obtaining both tests at the alike circumstance is really the only means to sense if the disease is new or old, and, perhaps, who gave it to you.
9. Can I dormant obtain children?
Definitely! Since nearly one out of five American adults already has HSV 2 malady (Xu et al. 2006), it’s solid that many women are safely having babies despite having herpes.
And the countess partners of men with herpes are taking pregnant and having sanitary babies too. The key to infected parents having a sanitary infant is twofold: First, women and their partners want to perceive the herpes stratum of everyone involved.
If a father has herpes but doesn’t sense it, he can unknowingly befoul his countess partner, and if that happens dilatory in pregnancy, that’s a uncommonly decaying thing. A pregnant peeress who gets herpes may not perceive about it and won’t be acceptance the vital precautions to troops her child at delivery.
Second, women deficiency an obstetric provider who knows how to direct genital herpes or the pledge of transmitting herpes to the baby during delivery.
If a peeress already has genital herpes and knows it, the gamble of her giving it to her baby is thumping paltry indeed!
10. Will my life ever be the alike again?
Though this may not be the boon query people ask, it’s the one that’s at the core of concerns about herpes.
Babies, sex, blame, transmission, and symptoms—all of those concerns oblige that you imagine about herpes and agreement with it.
It really can’t be ignored, so in that sense, yes, your life commit be changed.
But if you were to fashion diabetes, you’d dearth to mend your diet, take medicine, and course your blood sugars.
You wouldn’t, however, be a different man at the heart of yourself. Yet somehow, conceivably because you’re dealing with a sexually transmitted disease, concern about this is greater when dealing with herpes.
You might wonder, “Will family presume me the method I am? Will I be as jocund as I was before this diagnosis? Will kinsfolk surmise less of me? Will I live in trepidation of kinsfolk discovering I retain herpes?” It’s benefit to understand that three detailed studies obtain unshakable that most everyone who’s newly diagnosed with herpes gets back to his or her lapsed psychological workable standard within six months (Miyai et al. 2004). Yes, you obtain a virus in the genital area, but you’re not really any different inside—unless, of course, you somehow charter this virus define who you are.
Excerpt from The Good News About the Bad News: Herpes: Everything You Need to Know (New Harbinger Publications)