You spread sexually transmitted diseases between sexual partners during unprotected intercourse. Herpes is one of these conditions that, unfortunately, has no cure.
However, suppose you find yourself with a form of the herpes virus. In that case, it's manageable with the proper treatment from Collaborative Women's Care.
Dr. Eduardo Valdes runs Collaborative Women's Care in Miami, Florida. He's an expert in obstetrics and gynecology. If you're concerned about herpes, Dr. Valdes offers quick and accurate STD testing for peace of mind.
What is herpes?
Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease that affects your genitals. You spread it through close, intimate contact with an infected partner. Genital herpes is caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2).
HSV-1 also leads to oral herpes, which affects your mouth and lips. You can spread oral herpes to the genitals through oral sex. Oral herpes is often not spread through sexual contact; it's often the result of contact with infected saliva in early adulthood.
Genital herpes is a relatively common STD that causes painful blisters on the penis, vagina, or anus. You may come into contact with genital herpes through the following means:
- Contact with an open herpes blister
- Genital fluids from someone with herpes
- Saliva from someone with oral herpes
- Contact with the skin around the genitals from someone with herpes
- Contact with the skin around the mouth from oral herpes
It's crucial to understand that you may also get genital herpes even if your partner has no visible signs or symptoms.
If you have herpes, you'll experience outbreaks and periods of remission. When you have an outbreak, you may notice sores around your genitals or anus or your mouth with oral herpes.
Other symptoms associated with herpes include flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes. Your symptoms may be mild to severe and usually take a week or so to disappear.
Positive facts about herpes
Although herpes may seem like the end of the world, it's genuinely not. Many people can manage their symptoms and keep their outbreaks to a minimum. Other positive facts about herpes include the following:
It's manageable with medications
There's currently no cure for herpes, but that doesn't mean you'll suffer outbreaks forever. Herpes is very treatable with medications known as antivirals.
Dr. Valdes may prescribe antiviral medications that you take daily to prevent further outbreaks. If you have a more mild form of herpes, you may only need to take antivirals during an outbreak to manage your symptoms.
You can prevent herpes
The only way to entirely prevent herpes is to abstain from sexual intercourse. However, if you're sexually active, you can avoid herpes by practicing safe sex and using barriers like condoms.
However, condoms don't cover all areas affected by herpes. If your partner is having an outbreak, you must avoid sexual contact until the outbreak has subsided.
Staying in a monogamous relationship with someone without herpes is another way to protect yourself.
Not everyone has symptoms
If you think you've been exposed to herpes, you have a chance of developing the condition. However, not everyone who's exposed comes down with sores or symptoms.
It's important to get STD testing if you think you may have been exposed to genital or oral herpes. STD testing is the only way to know if you have the herpes virus.
Lifestyle changes may help you avoid outbreaks
After your first outbreak, recurrent outbreaks happen from stress or decreased immunity. You can make lifestyle changes if you want to reduce the number of outbreaks.
Incorporating exercise into your daily routine helps you manage stress, which can help you avoid herpes outbreaks. A healthy diet may boost your immune system, keeping the virus at bay.
You also can't acquire herpes from anything else other than sexual contact. You can't get herpes from sitting on a toilet seat or sleeping in a bed with someone with herpes. Your skin has to touch an infected person's genitals or mouth to come down with the herpes virus.
Don't lose sleep over genital herpes — if you need STD testing, call our office today at 305-200-3878 to book an appointment. You can also schedule a consultation using our online booking feature.