Tag Archives: Oral Herpes

Social Stigma of Genital Herpes vs. Cold Sores

Does it seem you have a target on your head because you have genital herpes? A lot of people don’t realize that genital herpes and cold sores are actually closely related. In fact, HSV1 and HSV2 share over half of the exact same DNA. Both are forms of the herpes virus, but one is more disapproved of in society than the other. Society looks down on genital herpes because it is a sexually transmitted disease. With that in mind, cold sores can be contracted from oral sex just as easily as they can be contracted from kissing. Thus it almost doesn’t make sense for one to be more frowned upon than the other. Here we will look at a few different reasons why genital herpes may have the reputation it does and what we can do to level the playing field.

One reason that oral herpes isn’t discussed much is because a lot of people are not aware of the fact that cold sores are in fact herpes. We see commercials for cold sore treatments all the time, but rarely will you flip on the TV to see a genital herpes commercial. This leads people to believe that cold sores are common and nothing to worry about, but by engaging in oral sex, you could actually pass your facial herpes to your partner’s genitals and give him or her genital herpes.

Genital herpes happens in a region that is awkward to discuss anyways, and that may be a reason that it is frowned upon when cold sores aren’t. Mentioning blisters on a penis or vagina isn’t exactly table talk, but a simple bump in the corner of a person’s mouth isn’t that big of a deal. Until the world because more open about sexual activity and the transmission of herpes, chances are that genital herpes will still be getting the bulk of the bad looks. By remaining educated about what cold sores really are though, you could at least remove yourself from society’s view point.

Genital herpes and facial herpes are both uncomfortable to live with, but they can be treated. You can talk to your doctor about getting a test for genital herpes, and then you can ask about different treatment methods for your problems. Outbreaks can be reoccurring, but when they show up again they are usually less severe than the first outbreak. Maintaining a healthy diet and monitoring the display of herpes symptoms will help you get over your condition faster and move on with your life. Avoid skin to skin contact with people during an outbreak or shortly after and you’ll have a significant lower risk to being exposed to hsv1 and hsv2.

How Contagious Is Herpes?

When it comes to sexuality, casual kissing and casual sex is quite normal, making the ability to catch a virus like herpes a lot easier to do. Most people don’t even know much about the virus when they get it, if they realize they contracted anything at all. How did you get it? What are some signs that they have this infection? Understanding what the herpes virus is and how you can catch this infection might help you stop the spread of herpes to others. Even if you aren’t showing signs of this disease, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have it. Read below to find out just how contagious herpes can be and what you can do to halt the spreading of it.

Is herpes contagious? Well, yes; herpes is one of the most contagious diseases out there. It is very easy to spread from one person to the next through any form of skin to skin contact. Most often it is spread from kissing, HSV-2, or oral herpes, is estimated to be present among 80% of the adult US population. Aside from not kissing at all, there’s little you can do to protect yourself on your lips, other than to avoid kissing all together when you see a cold sore present. Even without the sore though, the virus can stay dormat and you can still spread the virus fairly easily.

When it comes to genital herpes, it’s also transmitted by skin to skin contact and it’s estimated that 20-25% of the adult US population have HSV-2. Even with no noticeable signs and the use of latex condoms, passing the virus is still possible. One, condoms don’t always cover the entire penis and asymmetric shedding may occur, which is actually how most genital herpes infections occur. Also, it’s possible to have outbreaks or asymmetric shedding in the testicle area, which leaves your partner completely unprotected while having sex. It’s best to avoid intercourse when you notice any sores, or feel an outbreak is coming on. It’s also suggested that you wait until you’re completely clear after an outbreak, to engage in sexually activity again.

Unlike some STD’s, Herpes is not curable. There are certainly many over the counter and prescription medications available to manage or suppress your outbreaks, but once you’ve tested positive for the virus, you have it for life. It’s also important to note that just because you are around someone with herpes doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get it. Remember that herpes is not an air-borne virus, so you don’t have to worry about breathing in the infection. Your risks are just higher when engaging in sexually activity in that regard. The viral shedding period does happen but at that time, the virus is not nearly as active as it would be if you were around someone who was having an outbreak.

Are Oral Herpes and Genital Herpes The Same Thing?

A lot of people don’t realize that there are two different forms of herpes out there. Genital herpes and oral herpes actually share 50% of the exact DNA, they are virtually identical. Genital herpes, or HSV-2, is the one that makes the big news, and thus it is the one that most people think of when they picture herpes in general. However, oral herpes is also a problem out there, and it is one that most people have without even knowing it. Known as herpes type 1 (HSV-1), oral herpes can result in the ever so common cold sores than most people get around their mouths. Most people contract this when they’re younger, childhood or teenage years, by kissing parents, relatives, or when puberty starts when you begin kissing boys and girls. Most never even know that they have herpes.

One of the differences between the two different herpes types is the preference where the virus is located. Generally, HSV-1 prefers the mouth and lips, while HSV-2 prefers the genital region. However, it is possible to pass genital herpes to someone’s mouth or to pass oral herpes to someone’s genitals, but note while it can happen, it is rare. This usually happens during oral sex when one person does not realize that he or she is breaking out. You can pass the virus on to another person even a few days after a breakout has occurred, so you need to make sure to approach that idea cautiously. If you have vaginal or anal intercourse, make sure to use a condom to provide a barrier between the uninfected skin and the infected skin.

There are a number of tests out there for herpes, but few of them will pinpoint what kind of herpes you actually have. Blood tests, for instance, are beneficial because they can find herpes even when there is no outbreak present, but few can tell you which type of the virus you have. You will need to request specific testing from your doctor if you want to know whether you have oral herpes or genital herpes. Most of the time you will know that anyways though based on the severity and location of your particular symptoms. Even still, testing is available for you at any time. Talk to your doctor today about your options.

How Do You Get Herpes?

Depending on the type of herpes, HSV-1 or HSV-2, oral or genital herpes, the herpes virus is transmitted by skin-to-skin contact. Spreading of herpes happens more often than most people realize because more than 60% of people who actually have herpes don’t realize that they do. Thus they end up spreading their dormant symptoms to other people, even if there are no sores present at the time. There are several different forms of skin to skin interaction that can result in the spreading of herpes. Listed below are the most common ways that herpes is spread so you know what to watch for in the future.

It’s said that an estimated 80% of the U.S. population has oral herpes, or HSV-1. Although many downplay their infection as mere “cold sores,” HSV-1 is by far the most common type of herpes. HSV-1 is generally present around in a person’s mouth. Naturally, the most common way to spread HSV-1 is through kissing. That’s not to say if you kiss someone who has herpes in that area, you will likely get it too, but if an outbreak is present, it increases your chances of getting it dramatically. Cold sores are a sign of herpes, but more people don’t realize that when they go to kiss someone. In addition to mouth to mouth interaction though, herpes may also be spread through oral sex, either by having herpes on the genitalia or on the mouth. Any form of skin to skin contact has the potential to transmit herpes, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time.

When it comes to genital herpes, or HSV-1, this is commonly spread by sexual intercourse. If one sex partner has herpes around his or her genitals, he or she could give it to the partner in the midst of sexual activity. This includes both vaginal or anal intercourse, as well as oral sex. One of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking because they don’t have an active outbreak, that herpes cannot be spread. That’s simply not true. The herpes virus sheds from the skin, in what is called Asymptomatic Shedding, even when no outbreak exists. Again, a sore does not need to be present in order to spread herpes. Also, it’s important to know that condoms do not always protect you from getting herpes 100%, as it the virus may exist on areas that are not covered by a condom. Herpes cannot be transfered through latex itself, so condoms definitely offer the best protection when sexually active.

If you are worried about transmitting herpes to someone or if you think you might contract it from a partner, there are some things you can do to lessen your chances for transmission. Many couples, where one partner is infected, lead completely normal, healthy sex lives throughout their entire relationship without ever infecting one another. If you have herpes, wait several days after an outbreak before having sex as there may be some skin sheds that will still transmit the virus. Always wear a condom during sex at that will provide a barrier between sexual organs and lessen the likelihood of spreading. You might also look into medical treatments for your herpes outbreaks, especially if they are severe. Talk to your doctor about any problems that you may be having, and be sure to get tested if you think you may have contracted herpes at some point in time.

Are There Natural Cures for Herpes?

Most people who have herpes wonder if there are alternative ways other than prescription medication that can help get rid of or control their herpes outbreaks. The answer is yes, there is. Although there are different treatments that you can try for your virus, but you do need to know that there is no actual cure for herpes. All you can do is try natural remedies to ward off or relieve outbreaks, but you cannot get rid of herpes itself. It does take longer to heal your body the natural way, but it is an option beyond medical treatments your doctor may prescribe. Below are some natural solutions you may look into for your herpes breakouts.

Most of the time when you talk about herpes and natural cures or remedies, the amino acid Lysine is brought up. It’s one of the most effective, over the counter, supplements that you can take to not only use as suppressive therapy, but also to reduce the outbreak time. You can pick it up at any health food store, or places online like Amazon, iHerb.com or just about any health/supplement store online. When searching, you’ll find there are many brands to choose from. I recommend the brand Country Life, as they follow good manufacturing practices and their ingredients are pure. Lysine is very inexpensive (approx. $15 for a 6 month + supply) and really effective. I personally take two (2) 1000mg tablets a day when I begin to feel an outbreak coming on and it’s a vast difference in recovery time versus when I don’t take anything at all.

Another natural remedy is a topical solution called

What Are The Symptoms of a Herpes Outbreak?

The symptoms for a herpes outbreak may depend on the type. The herpes virus comes in two strains, HSV-1, which is oral herpes, aka coldsores, and HSV-2, which is gential herpes. As we know, herpes is contracted by skin to skin contact. In most people infected with the herpes virus, their first outbreak usually happens anywhere from two days up to almost three weeks after coming into contact with someone that had herpes. Because your immune system has never experienced the virus, there are no anti-bodies to help fight it off, so the first outbreak may be the worst you’ll ever experience. Initial symptoms can include:

– Swollen lymph nodes in your genital region or throat
– Inflamed blisters on the infected area
– Flu like symptoms, such a fever, sneezing, headaches etc
– Burning/tingling sensation in the infect area
– Pain in the lower back, back of legs or buttocks
– Small red bumps in the genital area that develop into blisters, which burst, then form a scab

It’s important that you do not self-diagnose these symptoms, but immediately speak with your doctor and get tested. Many times, people misdiagnosis themselves, thinking the blisters or red bumps are just an insect bite, pimple, jock itch, ingrown hair, etc. It’s very easy to make the mistake, especially if herpes is totally brand new to you.

After an outbreak happens, the physical signs of herpes could last for one to two weeks. During this time though, you should make sure to keep the infected area clean with warm water and dry it completely. Make sure that after you touch any of the infected areas that you wash your hands as you could spread your virus to different parts of your body if you are not careful.

Some people, however, are not like others and their case of herpes is generally mild in comparison. This is mainly due to the fact that these people have already dealt with a mild case of herpes before (i.e. having oral herpes and contracting genital herpes) and their immune system has fought back against this infectious disease. Sometimes you may or may not even notice the herpes outbreak if your body has fought this type of infection before. In general, mild cases can last about two to three weeks. They are usually far less severe from the first outbreak.

If you think that you have have contracted herpes, it’s important to immediately talk to your doctor and get tested ASAP. You want to make sure that you receive a professional diagnosis. You will have many questions, and you may be totally scared, and that’s completely normal. What’s important is to find out for sure if you do in fact have herpes, then work with your doctor to figure out what treatment may work best for you.