What are the symptoms of herpes?
Have an itchy, burning blister that just popped up out of no where? Well, it could be herpes! Watch this to learn more about the STD's symptoms.
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There are plenty of myths about herpes out there. Just how do you know what's fact and what's not? Watch this video to learn the top ten herpes facts you should know.
Transcript: There are 50 million cases of genital herpes in the United States alone, yet myths about the disease...
There are 50 million cases of genital herpes in the United States alone, yet myths about the disease abound. Here are ten facts you need to know. Herpes simplex is a contagious viral infection that can affect the mouth or the genitals. This disease often manifests itself as painful sores on either of these areas. Perhaps one of the most important facts about herpes is that it's contagious, ALL of the time. This is vital, because some people mistakenly believe that if they are not having an outbreak of sores that they cannot spread the virus. Ninety percent of people infected with the herpes virus are asymptomatic, and don't know they have herpes...yet still pass it to their partners. Herpes simplex is a virus that can be spread via the briefest of skin-to-skin contact. Kissing, oral or anal sex, touching with unwashed hands, and even sharing objects like drinking glasses and towels, can all spread the herpes virus. These high rates of asymptomatic herpes combined with the ease of spreading lead to the frequency with which genital herpes is found in the United States. While using a condom is a smart sexual practice, condoms do not necessarily protect against the spread of genital herpes. This is because the disease may be passed through contact with the thighs, pelvis and stomach. With these statistics in mind, you're probably eager to talk to your doctor about herpes simplex, and that's vital. Here's why: Most doctors don't test for herpes (even during a standard STD test) unless you ask them to. A blood test to determine if you are infected with the herpes virus, called a serology, is more accurate than the basic swab method. If you are considering pregnancy and do not know if you or your partner have been exposed to the herpes virus, it is especially important to find out if either of you is infected. That's because there is a chance that the active herpes virus can be passed to an infant during its trip through the birth canal. In some cases, your doctor may choose a cesarean section delivery to ensure that your baby is not infected. You may wonder why these precautions are necessary, since, while annoying and embarrassing, the herpes virus does not cause bodily harm beyond blisters. While this is true for you, newborn babies do not have the developed immune system that is needed to fight herpes simplex and may die if they contract the virus. If you have herpes, you are more prone to contract HIV and other STDs. Since your immune system is compromised because of the virus, it is important to be honest with your partner and discuss options to reduce transmission with your doctor. Finally, remember that either you OR your partner can have the herpes virus even if neither of you experience skin lesions! For this reason, it is absolutely vital to visit your doctor for a serology if you're sexually active. Doing so is worth the peace of mind, or medical help, hat will follow!More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-04 | Tags »
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Depending on the type of herpes you have, the outbreaks can pop up in two different regions. Watch this to find out where they are!
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Herpes is a contagious condition that affects millions of people in America. Understanding herpes is very important as it can help you manage it better. To know more, check out this video.
Transcript: One in four Americans is infected with the contagious disease known as genital herpes. But what IS herpes,...
One in four Americans is infected with the contagious disease known as genital herpes. But what IS herpes, anyway? Herpes simplex is a contagious viral infection that manifests as sores on the mouth or the genitals. While outbreaks of the sores can be reduced, there is no cure for herpes. And though the virus is generally harmless, it causes embarrassment for those infected, and can increase susceptibility to other STDs like HIV. There are actually two strains of the herpes simplex virus: HSV-1 and HSV-2. While HSV-1 tends to lead to sores on the mouth and HSV-2 usually presents itself on the genitals, either strain can lead to either outbreak. That's because HSV-1 and HSV-2 are markedly similar, so a cold sore on the mouth can easily be spread to the genitals during oral sex, and vice versa. While herpes is generally thought of as a sexually-transmitted disease, this is not always the case. Up to 80 percent of the population is infected with oral herpes, and most of these contract the virus as children. That's because both HSV-1 and HSV-2 are spread by ANY physical contact. This can include touching, kissing, or sexual acts. The briefest of skin-to-skin contact can transmit herpes. Sometimes, herpes has no symptoms, which is why up to a third of people with the virus remain undiagnosed. Remember that just because someone says they've never had a lesion doesn't mean they can't spread herpes! People with genital herpes who DO exhibit symptoms often notice small sores on the genitals, usually in a cluster. Other times, symptoms can be as subtle as a mild irritation. In an oral herpes outbreak, a cold sore, or "fever blister," will show up on the lips or around the mouth in a similar fashion. Some people also experience flu-like symptoms, such as a fever, aches and pains, or a headache. Regardless of the location, a herpes outbreak tends to start with red, "tingly" skin. In a day or two, sores will appear, although most outbreaks will clear in one to two weeks. So if herpes is forever, does that mean that a person will always have blisters on his or her body? Not at all! Herpes is a virus and will remain in the body for life. But the physical symptoms of herpes, an outbreak of sores, may recur anywhere from often to almost never. An outbreak can be triggered by factors such as illness, stress, diet, menstruation, or skin irritation. Every person's triggers are different, and some people have none. The bottom line is that whether you're having a herpes outbreak or not, once you get the virus, you will ALWAYS have it. For this reason, you should refrain from any sexual contact during an outbreak and practice protected sex at ALL times. It is also important to keep in mind that while a condom can reduce the spread, the only guaranteed way to prevent genital herpes is with abstinence. Herpes simplex is contagious and common! Fifty million genital cases exist in the United States, alone. So talk to your doctor about the prevention and treatment of herpes.More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-04 | Tags »
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Yes. Herpes can be treated, even though it can not be cured. Watch this to learn about the options that'll make a difference!
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To reduce the occurrence of herpes outbreaks, you will first need to know what trips the herpes trigger. Watch the video to get all the information on the subject.
Transcript: Herpes is one of the most common STDs out there, and once youve got it, youve got it for life. Yet outbreaks...
Herpes is one of the most common STDs out there, and once youve got it, youve got it for life. Yet outbreaks occur only occasionally, so what causes them? Once genital herpes is contracted it lives in the body foreveroften lying dormantbut it can become activated by certain triggers. While everyones triggers vary, there are some common experiences that make herpes flare-up in many people. For example, some find that the friction of sex irritates the genital skin and brings on symptoms. Using a water-based lubricant can help reduce this irritation, but DONT use one that contains the spermacide nonoxynol-9. This ingredient can irritate mucous membranes, such as the lining of the vagina, making symptoms worse. In addition, some people find that hormonal changes, such as those that occur during the menstrual cycle, can trigger outbreaks. And one of the most universal causes of herpes flare-ups is a weakened immune system, like in people suffering from colds. Regardless of your personal triggers, herpes outbreaks can usually be tempered with medication and lifestyle changes, so talk to your doctor about your options!More »
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Herpes is a very common STI caused by two different strains of the same virus. But it's what those two strains do that matters the most. Watch this to learn more!
Last Modified: 2013-06-20 | Tags »
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If you have genital herpes, medication options and lifestyle changes can clear up a current outbreak of sores while also preventing new ones from occurring!
Transcript: If you have herpes, you aren't alone. 500,00 of this contagious disease are diagnosed every year. So...
If you have herpes, you aren't alone. 500,00 of this contagious disease are diagnosed every year. So what happens after your diagnosis? Once you are diagnosed with the sexually-transmitted virus sex, your doctor will focus on several things: Clearing up your sores and preventing new ones from developing, counseling you regarding how to prevent its spread, and offering testing for other STDs. While herpes can manifest itself as sores on the mouth or eruptions on the genitals, the later is the focus of aggressive treatment. During a genital herpes outbreak...AND in the seven days following...it is important to abstain from all sexual acts, as the virus is particularly contagious at this time. However, genital herpes can be contagious at all times, even when a lesion isn't present. To promote the fastest healing of the blisters, don't pop or touch them and wear loose-fitting, cotton underwear and clothing. You should also be sure to wash your hands thoroughly every time you touch your genitals, to avoid spreading the virus to other people or to other parts of your body. During a herpes outbreak, your doctor will generally provide one of three antiviral medications to help speed healing time: Zovirax, Famvir or Valtrex. Each of these medications, which are taken orally, work to prevent the DNA-replication of the virus that keeps herpes active. After the first treatment, your doctor will work with you to come up with the best way to treat and prevent recurring outbreaks of genital herpes. Sometimes, your doctor will prescribe an intermittent treatment, whereby you'll keep an antiviral medication on hand and begin taking it when you feel the onset of an outbreak. If you have outbreaks more than six times a year, or if you wish to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to your partner, your doctor may recommend suppressive treatment, where you take an antiviral medication every day to reduce the likelihood of developing sores. Aside from medication, your doctor may recommend some easy lifestyle changes that can help reduce occurrences of outbreaks. Eating a diet high in the amino acid lysine and low in the amino acid arginine has been shown to lower the frequency of outbreaks. Foods like yogurt, cheese, bean sprouts, fish, and chicken all meet this criterion. Many people experience "triggers" that can lead to a herpes outbreak. Some common examples include extreme stress, exposure to sunlight, illness, intense sexual activity, or even certain foods, like chocolate. It may help to take note of what factors seem to trigger your attacks, and to avoid them whenever possible. Protect your partner from the spread of the disease by using a condom and taking antiviral medications. But note that while this combination affords better protection than condom use alone, the only guarantee against genital herpes transmission is abstinence. If you're one of the millions of Americans who has genital herpes, please talk to your doctor about the treatment option that is right for you.More »
Last Modified: 2014-02-24 | Tags »
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Herpes sores occur on your skin, but do know how the herpes virus behaves within your body? Watch this video to learn about herpes triggers.
Transcript: Herpes never goes away, even when you're not exhibiting physical symptoms. So what does it do inside...
Herpes never goes away, even when you're not exhibiting physical symptoms. So what does it do inside of you? During your initial herpes outbreak, your immune system creates antibodies specifically designed to fight the HSV, or herpes, virus. Once the first outbreak is over, the virus retreats to the ganglia nerves at the base of your spine. After the first bout of sores, herpes-specific antibodies made during the first outbreak do a better job of ensuring that HSV stays inactive, preventing future outbreaks-or that it returns with less force. Sometimes, a trigger-like stress or sunlight-re-can activate the virus. When that happens, HSV travels to the initial outbreak site, causing herpes sores to re-appear in the same area. The average number of outbreaks in an affected person is between 4 to 5 per year, but some people may experience many more, while others have just one or two reactions to the virus in their lifetime. If you experience uncontrollable herpes outbreaks, talk to your doctor about prescriptions that can help!More »
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Valtrex can reduce the length and severity of herpes outbreaks. Get more information on this medication and by watching this video.
Transcript: If you have herpes, you'll want to know about a medication called Valtrex! Herpes is caused by the spread...
If you have herpes, you'll want to know about a medication called Valtrex! Herpes is caused by the spread of the HSV virus, which can result in painful sores on the genitals, and is typically spread through sexual contact. Once a person gets herpes, it lives in the body forever, and there is no cure. But there is help! Enter valacyclovir, a medication branded as Valtrex, which is taken once daily to help significantly reduce herpes outbreaks.While there are other medications available, Valtrex is the only one proven to reduce the spread of herpes to other sexual partners. Valtrex can be used to diminish the severity and length of two other related outbreaks: cold sores on the mouth and shingles on the body. Both of these symptoms stem from variations of the HSV virus, and both respond to valacyclovir when it is taken at the beginning of the outbreak. However, this medication is not for pregnant women, and may cause side effects including headaches, nausea, and dizziness. Valtrex is only available via a doctor's prescription, so talk to your health care provider if you think you're a candidate for this medication!More »
Last Modified: 2012-12-28 | Tags »
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If you've been diagnosed with herpes, you may wonder what your initial outbreak will be like. Watch this video to learn more about how herpes presents itself during the beginning stages.
Transcript: You just found out youre infected with the genital herpes virus. What happens now? Genital herpes manifests...
You just found out youre infected with the genital herpes virus. What happens now? Genital herpes manifests differently in everyone. Most people who are exposed to the virus have a reaction two to twelve days later. The first herpes outbreak will generally include painful sores on the infected area. In addition, flu-like symptoms may be present, including a fever and swollen lymph nodes. Some people, however, wont develop herpes sores for months or even years! The first outbreak of the virus is generally the worst, because your body hasnt built up any immunity to its effects. Your body responds to the virus by creating antibodies to attack it. Later, these antibodies will help keep the disease in check, and this is how some immunity is formed. However, antibodies do not eliminate herpes entirely. Note that everyone does experiences herpes differently, so get to a doctor if you think youve been exposed to the virus!More »
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