Herpes is a common viral infection. Some people have no symptoms, while others experience painful outbreaks of fever blisters or genital sores. The virus can also be transmitted from a mother to her baby during childbirth.
Herpes can be spread through kissing, vaginal, and anal sex. It can also be spread by sharing personal items such as eating utensils, towels, or razors.
Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) typically enters the body through mucous membranes or skin wounds, including those in the mouth and anus. Once it has come into contact with these areas, the virus goes inside of the nuclei of the cells in the affected area and begins to replicate. This causes the formation of sores, which are usually painful and scab over after a period of time. It is also possible to contract HSV-2 from an infected individual through indirect contact, which can include sharing a toothbrush or sharing a drinking glass with an infected person.
Once a person has contracted herpes, it usually lies dormant in the nervous system until it is activated through sexual activity or direct contact with an infected object. The virus then produces an outbreak, causing herpes lesions to form in the genitals, rectum, cervix, or thighs. During an outbreak, individuals may experience pain during urination, flu-like symptoms, and sores that blister after a period of time. In addition, individuals may have swollen lymph nodes and a rash.
While herpes can be spread through oral sex, it is more likely to spread during vaginal or anal intercourse. It is also possible for an infected woman to pass herpes to her baby during childbirth. Herpes can also be spread by using objects that have been contaminated with herpes, such as towels or glasses. However, it is important to note that herpes cannot be transmitted through casual contact, such as shaking hands.
HSV-1, which is also known as oral herpes, is more commonly transmitted by kissing, especially during an active outbreak. The herpes virus is present in saliva, making it easy to transfer even when there are no visible sores. It is possible to catch herpes from a kiss, but condoms and dental dams can reduce the risk. It is also possible to pass herpes from an infected individual to another during a C-section delivery, but this is not very common.
Herpes simplex virus is mostly transmitted through direct contact with an infected person. This can include kissing or sharing utensils, lip balm, or razors with someone who has herpes. The virus can also spread when an infected person comes into contact with other areas of the body covered by skin, such as the feet or genitals. The virus can be passed to newborns if a mother has active herpes sores in her mouth or genitals at the time of childbirth.
Herpes is also sometimes spread through contaminated objects, such as towels or combs, and through medical procedures with an infected healthcare provider. Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can cause herpes, but they typically affect different parts of the body. HSV-1 causes oral herpes and can be spread through saliva or skin in the area around the mouth. HSV-2 causes genital herpes and can be spread through vaginal, anal or oral sex or by touching the sores on the genitals.
Neither herpes type can be spread by a symptom-free person who is shedding the virus. This is called asymptomatic herpes transmission and is less common than a herpes outbreak. Infected people can still spread herpes even when they have no symptoms, but the risk is much lower than it would be during an outbreak.
There are several ways to prevent herpes transmission non sexually. These include using barrier contraception during all sex, using condoms and dental dams, and practicing safe sex. It is important to talk with your partner about herpes and to use barrier methods during sex. It is also important to practice good hygiene and wash your hands frequently. You should avoid touching cold sores or fever blisters, and not share utensils or personal items with herpes-positive individuals.
Herpes is a life-long infection and it cannot be cured. However, there are medications available to help ease the symptoms and discomfort of an outbreak. It is recommended that you visit your doctor for advice on the best way to manage herpes. You should also speak to your doctor about getting regular screening for herpes to reduce the chances of contracting herpes or other sexually transmitted diseases. This will ensure that your herpes medication is working well and reducing the chances of an outbreak. You can get a herpes test at your local sexual health clinic or a private laboratory. You can also purchase herpes testing kits at pharmacies and online to test yourself at home. Getting tested for herpes can give you peace of mind and help you decide whether or not to continue dating an infected individual. The herpes virus can remain dormant for a long period of time and only reactivate when there is contact with an infected partner or object.