Rumours about herpes can be as contagious as the virus itself. Herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection, but many individuals are unaware of what it is, where it comes from, and how to protect themselves.
Oral and Genital Herpes Are Pretty Common
In one surprising statistic, 41 percent of respondents thought herpes was deadly. This is not true. Infants who contract it during childbirth are more likely to suffer severe consequences from herpes, although the virus is not fatal. Herpes simplex virus type one (HSV-1) or two (HSV-2) causes genital herpes. In addition to causing oral herpes, HSV-1 can cause genital herpes due to its ability to spread through oral sex. Both oral and genital herpes are pretty common. The survey also showed that one-third of respondents did not think herpes was contagious, which it is. In addition, one out of ten people taking the survey said they would not disclose their herpes diagnosis to a sexual partner.
Condoms can’t fully protect against herpes.
Using condoms is great, but they don’t eliminate all the risks. Herpes is transmitted via skin-to-skin contact, particularly between moist areas that secrete fluid. That’s why doctors recommend refraining from sex if there is an active outbreak since that’s when the virus is the most contagious. In addition, as condoms don’t cover all the skin that might be infected, they don’t offer the best protection (even though they are still recommended).
The symptoms can be hard to spot.
A significant reason why so many people who have the virus have never sought out or received an official diagnosis is that it does not always present with symptoms. Even when symptoms do appear, most of them can be written off as nothing to worry about. For example, cold sores are one of the most common symptoms of HSV-1.
A few clear signs may indicate a genital herpes infection, such as blisters on or around the vagina or painful urination. However, symptoms such as fever, swollen lymph nodes in the groin, or achy muscles (all of which can also occur with HSV-1 of the mouth) can often be mistaken for a cold.
Medicine cannot fully cure Herpes.
Herpes virus cannot be fully eradicated from the body, but some treatments can reduce pain and decrease the chances of its transmission. Abreva is an over-the-counter drug that aids in healing cold sores more rapidly, thereby reducing the infection spread. In addition, there are medications like Valtrex that can prevent outbreaks of genital herpes and make you less likely to transmit it, whether you’re experiencing symptoms or not. It may be especially effective if taken during the prodrome, or the period of electric tingling, burning or shooting pain that might occur before an outbreak. It is even possible for pregnant women with genital herpes to take medications to prevent transmission of the virus to their babies.
If you have any concerns regarding your sexual health, don’t wait. Instead, talk to a doctor from anywhere in Canada – book an appointment here.