What is Herpes?• Herpes is a STI infection that is caused by a Herpes simplex virus (HSV)
Types of Herpes• There are 8 strains of the Herpes virus, but the 2 strains people usually refer to are HSV-1 and HSV-2• Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) is historically associated with oral herpes• Herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) is historically associated with genital herpes
History• Historically, HSV-1 was usually associated with oral herpes, and HSV-2 was usually associated with genital herpes.• Because oral sex is more common now than it was back in the day, it is not uncommon to find HSV-1 infections in the genital region and HSV-2 infections in the oral region.
Symptoms• Oral and genital herpes have the same symptoms, but in different locations.• The Herpes virus causes outbreaks of painful blisters which will eventually rupture, and leave open sores. Sores can last up to three weeks.
Other symptoms that can accompany a Herpes outbreak are:• Pain• Fever• Swollen glands• Headache• Itching• Tingling
How often do outbreaks happen?• After infection with the Herpes virus, the first outbreak usually occurs within 2-3 weeks.• The frequency between outbreaks will vary for each person.• Some people only get the first initial outbreak, and never get another one again.
Outbreak frequency continued…• Outbreaks can occur every other month, once every couple of years, or not at all.• Some people are asymptomatic, which means they have no outbreaks or symptoms.• People who are asymptomatic may not even know they have herpes. It is estimated that up to 90 percent of those infected with genital herpes are unaware that they carry the virus.
How do you get Herpes?• Herpes is spread through oral/oral, oral/genital, or genital/genital contact with someone who has Herpes.• Herpes is most easily spread through open sores, but you can still catch Herpes from someone who does not have a active outbreak.
How can you prevent Herpes infections?• Abstinence is the only way to fully prevent herpes, or any STI infection.• If you are sexually active, use condoms for any type of sex. Keep in mind that condoms may not cover all infected areas, so you can still get herpes even if you use a condom.
Prevention continued…• Talk to your sexual partners about the importance of condoms and getting tested for STI’s.• If you are in a relationship, be monogamous and don’t cheat on your partner.• Avoid and sexual activity with anyone who has any sores on their mouth or genitals.
Prognosis• There is no cure for herpes. Once you are infected, you have the virus for life (even if you have no symptoms).• There are anti-viral medications that can reduce the severity of the outbreaks, lengthen the amount of time between outbreaks, or even stop outbreaks from occurring. Herpes is still contagious while you are taking anti-viral drugs.
Prognosis continued…• Herpes can be dangerous for infants. If a pregnant woman has an active outbreak at childbirth, her infant may be delivered by a C- section so the baby can avoid being exposed to herpes.• Herpes does not cause any medical issues in healthy adults.
Herpes and psychological issues• People with herpes often have a difficult time dealing with their diagnosis.• People may experience shame, depression, isolation, and fear of rejection.• People may be hesitant or scared to tell their sexual partner, friends, or family members about their diagnosis.• There are support groups for People infected with herpes, and counseling is a option if needed.
How common is herpes?According to the CDC:• One in six people in the U.S. between 14 and 49 have genital herpes• Oral herpes is very common, affecting about 50 to 80 percent of the U.S. population.
CDC statistics• Those most impacted by herpes are 14 to 29 years old. These statistics include both males and females.• Herpes is more common in women. The CDC found that one of four women are infected, compared to one of five men.• Herpes is more common in African Americans than Caucasian people. There is no information available about the prevalence of herpes in Hispanic or Asian Ethnicity’s.
Herpes Overview• Herpes is a STI.• Herpes does not cause any serious medical issues.• There is no cure, but medications can help prevent symptoms.• Herpes is contagious even when there is no outbreak.• Transmission is preventable.