Herpes Facts

Herpes Facts – What Most People Think They Know About Herpes is Wrong

What you don’t know – can definitely hurt you!  Here are the herpes facts that most people need to know.

  1. There are several forms of the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), but the ones most often associated with genital herpes infections are HSV-1 and HSV-2.  

2. The CDC estimates that at least 1 in 5 adults and teens in the USA have a genital herpes infection — and most of them don’t even know it.   Keep in mind that the statistics may underestimate the actual number of people with genital herpes since most doctors do not test their patients for herpes, and doctors are not required to report new or existing herpes cases to the CDC.  

3. Most doctors usually do NOT include a test for herpes when testing their patients for other common STD’s.  Patients have to specifically request that their doctor include a type-specific IgG herpes blood test for both HSV-1 and HSV-2, or else it will not be included.  Ask your doctor for a copy of your most recent STD test results and look for any results for HSV-1 and HSV-2.  Most people will see that there are no results for any type of HSV because a herpes blood test was not included in the STD test panel.

4. For most people, herpes symptoms are mild, infrequent, or easily mistaken for something else such as jock itch, ingrown hairs, or yeast infections.  Many people do not recall ever having any herpes symptoms.   You cannot tell if someone has herpes by doing a visual inspection, because for most people, there are no noticeable symptoms most of the time.  

5. Herpes is a virus that mostly resides dormant in the ganglia of the spine.  It occasionally travels via nerve pathways to the surface of the skin, usually around the mouth, genitals or buttocks, although it can occur elsewhere.  When this happens, there may or may not be noticeable symptoms.  

6. Herpes cannot be cured, but for most people, it causes no, few or minor symptoms and can be easily managed. 

7. Herpes is most often transmitted between partners when there are no visible or noticeable symptoms present.  And most of the time, the person “gifting” the herpes to their partner(s) doesn’t even know they have it.

8. People used to think that HSV-1 only caused oral herpes infections and HSV-2 only caused genital herpes infections.  However, due to rise in popularity or oral sex and anal sex, HSV-1 is now the leading cause of genital herpes infections.

9. Consistent and proper use of condoms and dental dams may reduce the risk of spreading or getting herpes by about 50%.  It is not 100% effective.

10. For most patients, antiviral prescription drugs such as Acyclovir and Valacyclovir (Valtrex) can reduce the frequency and severity of herpes symptoms.  Taken daily as suppressive therapy, these antivirals can also reduce the risk of spreading herpes to a partner by @ 50%.   

11. Having herpes does not mean that you will automatically transmit herpes to your partner(s).  The herpes virus is usually only present on the surface of the skin a small percent of the time.   Using condoms and suppressive therapy goes a long way to reducing the risk of spreading herpes to a partner.  There are many happy couples where one partner has herpes and the other partner does not or never gets it.  

12. There are many herpes dating websites and herpes social and support groups all over the world, where you can meet, make friends, and date other people with herpes.

13. Leading a healthy lifestyle that focuses on improving your immune system health, is one of the best ways to reduce herpes symptoms and frequency.  Don’t fall for phony cures. 

14. Women who have genital herpes can deliver healthy babies via vaginal childbirth and don’t need to have Caesarian sections unless they are having an active outbreak at the time of delivery.  If you or your partner have genital herpes and get pregnant, make sure to tell your doctor so they can can help you deliver a healthy happy baby.

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You might also be interested in:

Herpes Dating

Herpes Social and Support Groups

How to Get Tested for Herpes