- How to Tell Your Partner You Have Herpes: 12 Steps (with Pictures)
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- 4 Questions You Probably Have About Dating With Herpes
But herpes can also act as a relationship tester. If your partner is not willing to try to work with you and find ways to deal with your diagnosis, he may not be someone you want to be with, for years down the road or for one night. Begin with a good conversation starter. Go for a non-threatening way to start the conversation, such as: I have something to tell you. Can we talk right now?
I'd like to talk to you about something. Keep the conversation simple and positive. Can we talk about what this means for us? Stay calm and stick to the facts. Remember that your partner will be looking to you to lead the conversation. Rather than appear ashamed or traumatized by your diagnosis, stay calm and provide the facts about herpes.
So you are just someone who happens to know you have herpes. Explain your current treatment, if any, and how you actively practice safe sex. Tell your partner about any medication you take to manage the symptoms and recurrence of herpes. Always using a condom when having sex. You should also avoid sexual intercourse when you have a cold sore to prevent the spread of the virus. Explain to your partner that the symptoms of genital herpes, such as sores and irritation, may reappear from time to time. This is because once you get the herpes virus, it remains in your body. Most of the time, it remains inactive.
Each individual is different, some people never have a recurrence and some many have recurrences several times a year. So let your partner know if there are certain triggers for you, such as stress at work or home, fatigue, insomnia, and menstruation if you are a woman. Answer any questions about herpes your partner may have.
Remain open to any questions your partner may have. If asked, go into detail about your treatment and your current approach to safe sex. It may help them to process the information if they do some of their own research online to better understand the virus. Give your partner time to process the information. No matter how your partner reacts, negatively, or positively, try to be flexible and open. Remember that it likely took you time to adjust to your diagnosis. So give your partner some space to process the conversation.
Their reaction is not a reflection on you and you are not responsible for their reaction. How exactly does herpes spread? Despite the millions really! Regardless, the end result is that dating with herpes can feel daunting. You're probably wondering at least three things: Plus, you're probably at least a little curious about safer sex precautions.
Herpes Simplex 1 vs. Herpes Simplex 2—and Why the Difference Matters. Genital herpes is a common infection generally transmitted through sexual contact. It is caused by one of two members of a family of viruses which also include the viruses causing chickenpox and shingles, and glandular fever. Usually, genital herpes is caused by infection with herpes simplex virus type 2 HSV-2 , and studies suggest that in some countries, one in five people are infected with this virus.
Genital herpes, for most people, is an occasionally recurrent, sometimes painful condition for which effective treatment is now available. Anyone who is sexually active is at risk of catching genital herpes, regardless of their gender, race or social class. Genital herpes can be transmitted through direct contact with an infected blister or sore, usually through sexual contact.
It can also be transmitted when there are no symptoms present. HSV-2 infection is usually passed on during vaginal or anal sex. HSV-1 is usually transmitted by oral sex mouth to genital contact. If your partner has only just been diagnosed as having genital herpes, this does not necessarily mean that he or she has been unfaithful to you, or sexually promiscuous in the past. Your partner may have caught genital herpes from you. So it is very easy for you to have unwittingly transmitted the infection to your partner.
The symptoms of the infection vary greatly between individuals — it might be totally unnoticeable in you, but cause severe blistering in your partner. Since the genital herpes virus can be transmitted through oral sex as well as vaginal sex, it is also possible that your partner caught the virus from a cold sore on your mouth or face. Alternatively, your partner may have contracted the herpes virus from a previous sexual partner, perhaps even several years ago.
The herpes virus can remain inactive in the body for long periods, so this may be the first time it has caused symptoms.immortalproduce.com/includes/map10.php
How to Tell Your Partner You Have Herpes: 12 Steps (with Pictures)
If your partner is having a first episode of genital herpes, he or she is likely to feel generally unwell and have fever, headache, and general bone and muscle aches, as well as irritation in the genitals. This may last for several days, during or after which reddened areas may appear on the genitals. These may develop into painful blisters. The blisters then burst, generally to leave sores which gradually heal, usually without scarring.
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The severity of this first herpes episode varies between individuals, but for some people it may be severe and last for up to three weeks if not treated. These symptoms should quickly resolve with treatment. The doctor should have given your partner a course of antiviral treatment.
This is an effective medicine which, although it does not cure genital herpes, can speed recovery and reduce the severity of the herpes episode. There are also other steps which your partner can take to relieve the pain of genital herpes. However, for many people who have genital herpes, the physical symptoms are far outweighed by the emotional stress relating to the diagnosis.
There are many misconceptions about genital herpes, including the belief that it is associated with promiscuity, and these have given it a reputation which may cause your partner to feel angry and shocked by the diagnosis. Anxiety, guilt, loss of assertiveness and fear of rejection are also common emotions. Your support can be very important in helping your partner to deal with these feelings and to minimise the effect of genital herpes on his or her life.
Until recently, diagnosis could only be made by clinical symptoms and swabs from an active herpes episode. However, there are commercially available blood tests becoming available which can distinguish between herpes simplex virus type 1 HSV-1 and herpes simplex virus type 2 HSV-2 antibodies. The time taken to develop antibodies is usually two to six weeks after infection, but can be up to six months.
It is also important to know that false positives and false negatives are common in these tests. Because of the limitations of a blood test to diagnose herpes, it is recommended you discuss the implications of the test with someone who has experience with them. If you think you might be showing signs of the infection, consult your doctor. The symptoms of genital herpes may reappear from time to time. This is because once the herpes virus is acquired, it stays permanently in the body.
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Most of the time it remains inactive, but every so often it may reactivate and cause another outbreak. Each individual is different — some people never have a recurrence; others may have recurrences several times a year. However, recurrent outbreaks are usually shorter and less severe than the first herpes episode. Certain events or situations can trigger recurrences, and you may be able to help your partner avoid or reduce the trigger factors, which may include stress at work or home, fatigue, ill health, loss of sleep, friction due to sexual intercourse, and menstruation in women.
If your partner has frequent or severe episodes of genital herpes, or if the recurrent outbreaks are causing a lot of anxiety for your partner, then he or she may benefit from suppressive therapy taking oral antiviral tablets continuously , which prevents or reduces recurrences. If you take the necessary precautions, the chances of getting the herpes virus from your partner are reduced.
Genital herpes does not mean abstinence from sex or a reduced enjoyment of sex. The continued use of condoms in a long-term relationship is a personal decision that only the couple can make.
Most find that as the importance of the HSV infection in their relationship is seen in perspective, that condom use becomes less relevant if this is the only reason condoms are being used. However, most couples choose to avoid genital skin-to-skin contact during an active episode of herpes because this is when the herpes virus is most readily transmitted. This period includes the time from when your partner first has warning signs of an outbreak, such as a tingling or burning in the genitals, until the last of the sores has healed.
Also, sexual activity prolongs the healing of the episode. Herpes transmission risk is increased if there are any breaks in the skin. For example, if you have thrush or small abrasions from sexual intercourse, often due to insufficient lubrication. It can be helpful to use a lubricant specifically for sexual intercourse and avoid sex if you have thrush. Sexual lubricant is helpful right at the start of sexual activity. Sores in other areas — such as the buttocks and thighs — can be just as contagious as those in the genital area, and care should be taken to avoid direct contact with such sores during sex.
At other times, there is still a small risk of transmitting the herpes infection through a process known as asymptomatic shedding, even if your partner is showing no signs of genital herpes. This risk can be reduced significantly if a person with herpes takes suppressive oral antiviral treatment. If you or your partner has a cold sore, it is advisable to avoid oral sex as this can spread the herpes virus to the genitals. You cannot catch genital herpes by sharing cups, towels or bath water, or from toilet seats. You can still cuddle, share a bed, or kiss.
After you have read this booklet and discussed genital herpes with your partner, you might have specific questions or concerns about herpes. Continue to go back to your doctor or counsellor until all your queries about genital herpes are answered. Sexual Health Clinics also provide confidential free treatment, management and information.
In some areas, there are local genital herpes support groups that can be a valuable source of information and support. The following section gives you in-depth information about the use of oral antivirals to treat herpes. Aciclovir has been used for this indication for a number of years now and found to be highly effective in controlling herpes recurrences.
Some people with genital herpes have identified factors which may influence frequency or severity of recurrences. Factors such as stress, diet and lifestyle may be worth considering when looking at ways of managing herpes in your life. Each case is individual and what works for one may not work for another. Frequent or severe recurrences of genital herpes infection may interfere with normal work and social activities, and cause disruption to your sex life.
However, there are steps which you can take to reduce outbreaks and help bring the herpes virus under control. This section explains what you can do and answers some other questions which you may have about living with genital herpes. Once you have acquired the herpes simplex virus HSV-2 it remains permanently resident in your body, living in a structure called the dorsal root ganglion, which is part of the nervous tissue located near to the base of the spinal column.
It spreads down the nerve to break out on the skin from time to time. Most of the time it is inactive, but every so often something happens to reactivate it, which causes the symptoms you recognise. Sometimes the herpes virus can reactivate and be shed without recognisable herpes symptoms asymptomatic shedding.
It is not known exactly why the herpes virus becomes active again. Some people recognise certain trigger factors which contribute to an outbreak. These may include friction due to sexual intercourse, ill health, stress, fatigue, depression, loss of sleep, direct sunlight and menstruation. Many people find that as the years go by the number and severity of their herpes recurrences naturally diminish.
Education and counselling will often help an individual cope with recurrences. People who make contact with a support group for people with genital herpes often describe this as being a turning point in their coping with genital herpes in their life. Suppressive therapy involves taking an oral antiviral drug every day for prolonged periods. When recurrences do occur, they are usually less severe and shorter lasting. If you find the frequency of your outbreaks unacceptable, or if you are finding it difficult to cope emotionally with having recurrences of genital herpes, tell your doctor and discuss the use of suppressive therapy.
4 Questions You Probably Have About Dating With Herpes
For example, a very large study found that people who had an average of over 12 herpes occurrences a year, could reduce the frequency of their herpes outbreaks to less than two a year after one year of continuous suppressive therapy. The study also showed that if recurrences do occur during suppressive therapy, they are usually less severe and shorter lasting.
Your doctor may agree that suppressive antiviral therapy is suitable for you if one of the following applies to you: There are two oral antivirals available for suppressive treatment in New Zealand: Many people who use suppressive therapy say that they get so used to taking the tablets or capsules they are happy to continue with the treatment.