Think you have herpes simplex type 1 or 2? Don’t fret, as most of the population does too. Though the herpes simplex virus is an incurable condition that causes irritations and blisters. Herpes can be controlled with the right medication.
HSV Infection Consists of Two Types of Herpes
Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1: Oral-to-oral contact transmits herpes simplex 1, or oral herpes; this type is associated with the well-known symptom of “cold sores.”
Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2: Genital herpes is exclusively transmitted through sexual contact and causes infection in the genital or anal region of your body. Symptoms include painful blisters or ulcers, although frequently exhibits no symptoms at all. Testing is the key; there is a possibility that you can be infected and contagious without knowing it.
How is Herpes Simplex Transmitted?
Mouth-to-mouth contact can spread oral herpes from person to person. Sharing items such as toothbrushes and eating utensils and having sex with an infected partner can spread oral herpes.
What are the Symptoms of Herpes?
The symptoms of both types of genital herpes – are similar in nature. Symptoms manifest within a couple of days of contact. You will feel tingling for a few days before blisters manifest. Some people feel like they are getting the flu with swollen glands and a fever. These blisters eventually break open resulting in painful sores. The sores will heal within a few weeks. It’s important to refrain from having sexual relations during this period to not spread the disease. You may also be infected and not suffer any symptoms from an HSV infection.
Most of the time, your doctor will diagnose you by taking a physical examination rather than taking a culture from your sores as they would if you had a case of genital herpes.
- Antibody Tests: Your doctor will take a blood test that will check for antibodies your immune system releases when you have a herpes infection. Antibody tests are the least reliable of all the tests for genital and oral herpes. This unreliability is based on a couple of factors: for one thing, antibody tests are not as accurate as viral cultures and are sometimes unable to tell the difference between an active herpes infection and one that has occurred in the past. Additionally, if you have recently been infected with genital herpes, it will not likely show up on your antibody test for at least a couple of weeks.
- Cell Culture: Cells and fluids from one of your fresh sores are collected by your doctor using a cotton swab. This sample is placed in a culture cup and tested. However, this type of test often produces false-negative results or fails to detect the herpes virus even when it is present.
- PCR Blood Test: A polymerase chain reaction is performed on the cells or fluid from a sore or a sample of your blood or spinal fluid. A PCR blood test finds the DNA of the herpes virus and can tell the difference between herpes simplex 1 and 2. PCR testing is rare, and it often reserved for testing your spinal fluid in cases where your herpes may have caused an infection in or around your brain.
Treating Genital Herpes
The best course of action is to be placed on a medication plan; this will help decrease the virus from reoccurring and reduce the pain related to herpes outbreaks.
You can prevent genital herpes from spreading to you or from you through the use of latex condoms, but the guarantee of protection is never complete. Even spermicides and dental dams are not wholly effective against the transmission of genital herpes. The only guaranteed way of avoiding transmission is abstinence.
Genital herpes can be a drag; you always have to be concerned about your outbreak and in control of your symptoms, not to mention your obligation, to be honest with you sexual partners about your diagnosis. But, you’ll likely find that most people don’t mind, and a lot of them have been diagnosed. With the help of your medication, you’ll be without your genital herpes symptoms most of the time.
How does having the virus affect my life?
You will have to be careful about sharing objects that touch your mouth with your friends, and you should be candid about your oral herpes or cold sores with any partner you are embracing or kissing intimately. Chances are they have come into contact with a version of herpes as well. You may have heard statistics about one in four or one in five of people having herpes; this is partly true, but also more than partially correct because 100% of people have herpes. Eight species of herpes virus occur in humans; all of us have at least a few of them, and most people have a handful of them. Having herpes is as normal as having eyebrows today.
Herpes is not a death sentence!
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