Posts tagged herpes facts
Common questions about genital herpes:
- What are the symptoms of genital herpes?
- For some, a cluster of blisters forms on the genitals; others may never get any physical symptoms but could still put their sexual partners at risk of getting herpes. Some people claim to feel a “tingling” on the genitals before a herpes outbreak that signals that the virus is preparing to surface. Some feel a tingling in their calf, thigh, buttocks or lower back regions because the virus uses the nerve ganglia as its method of travel from the base of the spine (where it hibernates) to the skin (see herpes prodrome symptoms).
- How can I spread herpes?
- Herpes can only be spread when the contagious area comes into direct skin-to-skin contact with a mucous membrane or a break in the skin. In many instances, the location of the herpes outbreaks will stay in the same area time after time, so if that location is covered by a condom, the chances of spreading the virus are much less. However, some people’s herpes locations are in areas that a condom cannot cover.
- Can I spread herpes even when I’m not having a herpes outbreak?
- Physical signs of herpes don’t have to be present in order for to pass the virus to your partner. This is known as “viral shedding,” when the virus is silently active, which occurs 5-10% of the time. You can never know for sure when shedding is occurring, although some claim they get the same tingling sensations as though an outbreak were about to happen but never does.
- I’m not really sure if I have herpes. How can I know for sure?
- There is a definitive test called the IgG test that looks for antibodies in the blood that would be present to specifically combat the herpes virus. This test can tell you which type of herpes you have, whether HSV1 or HSV2 (either can show up on either the lips or genitals, but 1 prefers oral and 2 prefers genitals).
- I’m feeling really alone. What can I do?
Herpes infection — either HSV 1 or HSV 2 — happens when the virus enters the body. It usually finds a vulnerable part of the skin, such as the mouth or the genital area (a small cut, abrasion or a mucous membrane). Because mucous membranes are more vulnerable than the tough barrier of the skin, women are many times more likely to get herpes than men. Once inside the body, herpes travels to certain nerve ganglia, where it “sleeps” (also see herpes dormancy) until something triggers herpes into action. Centers for Disease Control statistics indicate that up to 80% of people infected with herpes don’t even know they have herpes because they experience such mild symptoms of herpes, or sometimes none. See also How can you get herpes? More >
Recurrent genital herpes outbreaks will occur after a period of herpes dormancy. The amount of time that herpes lies dormant varies by person (each person’s health, immune system and overall biology is different). Genital herpes stays at the base of the spine (in the sacral ganglia), invisible until something triggers the herpes symptoms. It wakes up and makes its way to the surface of the skin to generally end up at the original site of herpes infection. More >
Incoming search terms for the article:
Since there is no herpes cure, it does stay in your body for life. But for most of the time it’s not visible. On average, people have 2-4 herpes outbreaks per year (see more herpes statistics and herpes facts). Some may never have a visible herpes outbreak. This is due to herpes dormancy. Think of herpes as a bear who hibernates until rustled from its slumber to head outdoors again (see herpes triggers). Sometimes this metaphorical bear is restless, while other times it sleeps long and hard. (Keep in mind that even when it lies dormant, you can still spread herpes due to herpes viral shedding.) More >
Incoming search terms for the article:
What are the symptoms of genital herpes?