Q: Is herpes common?
A: Most of the population in the USA have herpes, either as genital herpes (HSV-2), or as cold sores. Estimates are that 60 million Americans have the genital form of herpes. Kaiser Family Foundation and The American Social Health Association estimate there are more than 15 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections each year.
About 80 percent of Americans have the common form of herpes, HSV-1. It usually appears as oral herpes and is often spread without sexual contact.
Q: What are oral herpes symptoms?
A: Oral herpes are referred to as “Cold sores” or “fever blisters” and usually breakout on the lips or inside the mouth. Only brief direct contact is all that’s needed to pass the virus. Cold sores are bothersome but harmless in children and adults but can be very harmful to a newborn.
Q: What are genital herpes symptoms?
A: There generally are none but when the outbreak appears it is a cluster of blistery sores, usually on the vagina, vulva, cervix, penis, buttocks, or anus. Symptoms may last several weeks and may return in weeks, months, or years.
The first outbreak is called “primary herpes” and may includes these symptoms:
• open sores
• pain in the area of infection
• burning feelings if urine flows over lesions
• inability to urinate if severe swelling blocks the urethra
A severe “primary herpes” episode may have symptoms that include:
• swollen and tender lymph glands in the groin, throat, and armpits
• run-down feeling
• flu-like feelings
Later episodes are usually less severe than the first.
Some people carry the virus but do not have their first episode until they are infected another time.
Q: What about the “tingling” sensation?
A: There is a common description of “tingling” in connection with outbreaks. Tingling has been described as a sensation similar to a rub burn, or a feeling that the muscle has gone to sleep.
Q: Who is susceptible to catching the herpes virus?
A: Anyone who has sex. Many people with genital herpes never recognize the signs of infection, so they have herpes and don’t know it.
Q: Can herpes be spread when their is no outbreak?
A: Yes, genital herpes virus can be spread through the skin although there are no visible signs of an outbreak. This is called asymptomatic viral shedding. Most people catch genital herpes from an infected partner who has no signs or symptoms.
Q: If I have herpes, is there a risk of contracting another sexually transmitted infection?
A: Studies suggest that being infected with genital herpes may increase the likelihood of contracting other STDs while open lesions are present.
Q: How can my partner find out if he or she has genital herpes?
A: Nearly 85% of people who are infected with HSV-2 are unaware they have it. Encourage your partner to speak to his or her healthcare provider.
Q: What if I have genital herpes and don’t know it?
A: You could pass it on to your partner or spread herpes to another part of your body, like your mouth or your finger.
Q: If I have genital herpes and I’m pregnant, can I infect my baby?
A: It is possible, if you become infected during pregnancy or you have an outbreak at the time of delivery, to transmit the infection to your baby. It is important to take precautions to prevent herpes infection during pregnancy, particularly if your partner has genital herpes and you don’t. It is strongly recommended that pregnant women who suspect they have genital herpes discuss this with their doctor because there are precautions that can be taken to help protect the baby.
Q: I think I may have genital herpes, what should I do?
A: With the help of your doctor, genital herpes can be managed. Don’t take a chance. If you think you or your partner might have genital herpes, see your doctor right away. There are only two FDA-approved type-specific tests on the market. Herpes Select 1 and 2 ELISA produced by Focus Technologies and POCkit HSV-2 rapid point of care produced by Diagnology.
Q: How long does it take for lesions to appear after infection?
A: Primary herpes usually begins from two to three weeks after the virus enters the body.
Q: What causes recurring outbreaks?
A: No one knows for sure but in many cases recurrent outbreaks have been associated with other infections, stress, surgery, menstruation, sexual intercourse, and skin irritations.
Q: How can symptoms be relieved?
A: In my opinion, the most effective way to deal with outbreaks is to use the nonprescription viral antiseptic Dynamiclear. When applied to open lesions this antiseptic kills the virus, lowering the viral presence in the body and helping your immune system regain control. Dynamiclear is applied only once during the outbreak and begins working immediately.
A doctor may prescribe acyclovir, famiciclovir, or valacyclovir. They may speed up the healing of lesions and weaken the virus. These prescription medications work in a different way than Dynamiclear.
Q: Is there a cure for Herpes?
A: No. However, in most cases outbreaks can become fewer and weaker over the course of a few years.
Q: Does Herpes cause cancer of the cervix?
A: No. Cervical cancer is associated with certain types of human papilloma viruses but not the ones that cause genital warts.