5 Myths About Herpes, Busted!

Herpes is common. Really common. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in six adults has genital herpes, a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by herpes simplex virus. (To learn more about the two types of herpes, HSV-1 and HSV-2, check out the CDC’s herpes fact sheet). While it may be super-common, there are still a lot of myths out there about it—here are five I hear a lot.

Myth 1: If I don’t have any sores, I don’t have herpes.

Herpes can lay dormant (sort of like it’s in hibernation) for years without causing any noticeable symptoms. Because of this, many people don’t know they have it and may have trouble figuring out how or when they got it. When symptoms do occur, they often appear as small blisters on or around the genitals. The blisters may look like pimples with clear fluid in them, and they may be painful or have a burning sensation. The best way to find out if you have herpes is to see a health care provider if you have pain, blisters or a sore.

Myth 2: We didn’t have sex, so there’s no way I have genital herpes.

Herpes is spread by skin-to-skin contact with someone who carries the virus. That means you can get herpes by touching, kissing and oral, vaginal, or anal sex. People who carry herpes don’t always know they have the virus, and they may not have any visible sores on their skin.

That said, your risk of getting the virus is higher if you’ve had contact with a partner who does have a visible sore. Using condoms can majorly decrease the risk of spreading the virus, but doesn’t eliminate it completely. Unfortunately, no other type of birth control reduces the risk of this STI.

Myth 3: There’s a cure for herpes…right?

First, the bad news: Once you have herpes, it will be with you for the rest of your life. The virus can lay dormant for long stretches of time, then cause “outbreaks” at times of stress or illness.

Now, the good news: There are medications you can take to make an outbreak go away faster. If you only get outbreaks once every few years, you can take the medications just when you have an outbreak. If you get outbreaks more often, you might benefit from taking a medication daily to prevent them. A discussion with your healthcare provider will help you decide which strategy is best for you.

Myth 4: I can’t have a baby if I have herpes.

This is something many women worry about when they find out they have herpes. Thankfully, it’s not true. Many women living with herpes give birth to healthy babies. However, if you have herpes it is important for you to let your healthcare provider know so he or she can monitor you for symptoms. If at the time of your labor you have any sores on your cervix, vagina, or the skin around your vagina, or if you’re experiencing symptoms like tingling or burning, your provider will recommend a caesarean section to prevent transmission of the virus to your baby. If you don’t have any symptoms, you can safely have a vaginal delivery.

Myth 5: Herpes is something to be ashamed of.

This is the most important myth to bust: While living with herpes can (literally) be a pain, it’s incredibly common and nothing to be ashamed of. For more information on this virus, check out the CDC’s Fact Sheet about it. For a more personal take on living with an STI—along with resources and support—check out The STD Project, a site founded and run by a woman who’s living with herpes.

 

Related:
How to Make Sex Safer in 4 Simple Steps
Pregnancy and Herpes
13 Dos & Don’ts for the Doctor’s Office

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Grace Shih, MD, MAS, is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. She has a family medicine practice at the San Francisco General Hospital’s Family Health Center. When she’s not seeing patients, you can find her cooking, hiking, or salsa dancing.

Originally published on bedsider.org

564 comments

Maria H.
Maria H.9 hours ago

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Just give him a chance if you will not com out with your own testimony bye.

 .
.3 days ago

hello everybody,
i don't just know the reason why some people is finding it difficult to believe that there is a cure for herpes, i have been suffering from herpes since last three years with my boyfriend but today i am happy that am cure from it with the herbal medicine of Dr Aba the great healer,i was browsing the internet searching for help when i came across a testimony shared by someone on how Dr Aba cure his herpes i was so much in need of getting his treatment but after all Dr Aba brought a smile to my face with his herbal medicine. i am so much happy today that we have someone like this great healer out there, so my people out there kindly contact this great healer on his email address: dr.abaherbalhome@gmail.com please sir keep your good work cause there are people out there who is in need of your healing medicine.once more contact him now: dr.abaherbalhome@gmail.com you can call him or whatsApp his number +2348107155060

Sarah J.
Sarah J.3 days ago

MUST READ: HOW I GOT CURED FROM MY HERPES VIRUS)

Hello, My name is Elizabeth, I was diagnosed of Herpes in 2014 and I have tried all possible means to get cure but all to no avail, until i saw a post in a health forum about a herbal doctor from West Africa ( Dr Emmanuel ) who prepare herbal medicine to cure all kind of diseases including Hiv virus, at first i doubted if it was real but decided to give it a try, when i contact this herbal doctor via his email, he prepared a herbal medicine and sent it to me , when i received this herbal medicine, he gave me step by instructions on how to apply it, when i applied it as instructed, i was cured of this deadly virus Herpes within a week of usage I am now free from the virus, i was tasted negative. Contact this great herbal doctor via his email: traditionalherbalhealingcentre@gmail.com when you contact him, make sure you tell him that I referenced you and Good Luck.

Vivian J.
Vivian J.5 days ago

Hello my names are Ellen Peters and I’m giving a testimony about Dr.Sunshine who cured me from Herpes, when I did the test and I was confirmed positive, I was so confused because my son is just too young and I need to be there for him, so I tried all means to make sure I will be there for him, I saw a blog where Dr. Sunshine cured Herpes, I contacted him through his email and explained my problems to him, and he assured me of healing, he did what he has been doing for other people and after taking his Herbal medicine I was cured.Dr.Sunshine also a asked me to go for check-up and i was negative again... I’m so happy for what Dr. Sunshine did for me, contact him via email on sunshineherbalhome@gmail.com or dr.sunshineherbalhome@gmail.com I know he can help you.

michele a.
michele a.5 days ago

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Mariah X.
Mariah X.8 days ago

Just want to know more about herpes. I think it will be helpful to prevent the spreading of this virus if everyone know more about herpes. Although herpes isn't cured now, it can still be controlled. I have read this article and found it useful: http://www.genitalherpesdating.com/blog/5-tips-to-prevent-herpes-outbreaks/

 .
.9 days ago

hello everybody,
i don't just know the reason why some people is finding it difficult to believe that there is a cure for herpes, i have been suffering from herpes since last three years with my boyfriend but today i am happy that am cure from it with the herbal medicine of Dr Aba the great healer,i was browsing the internet searching for help when i came across a testimony shared by someone on how Dr Aba cure his herpes i was so much in need of getting his treatment but after all Dr Aba brought a smile to my face with his herbal medicine. i am so much happy today that we have someone like this great healer out there, so my people out there kindly contact this great healer on his email address: dr.abaherbalhome@gmail.com please sir keep your good work cause there are people out there who is in need of your healing medicine.once more contact him now: dr.abaherbalhome@gmail.com you can call him or whatsApp his number +2348107155060

Vivian J.
Vivian J.10 days ago

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Mark R.
Mark R.11 days ago

I'm Mark Raudales from United State...I was in trouble when the doctor told me that I have been diagnosed with Herpes simplex… I though about my Family, I know my Family will face a serious problem when I’m gone, I lost hope and I wept all day, but one day I was surfing the internet I found Dr. Suku contact number. I called him and he guided me. I asked him for solutions and he started the remedies for my health. Thank God, i was cure from herpes by the herbal medication I receiver from Dr Suku I never thought that herpes can be cure until I met Dr Suku who use is special medication to heal me,I will want us to share tip and forum on his email:greatsukusolutiontemple@hotmail.com or call +2348074839242,I will drop Dr Suku contact for any kinds of diseases for cure,him website; http://greatsukusolutiont.wix.com/dr-suku.

Mark R.
Mark R.11 days ago

I'm Mark Raudales from United State...I was in trouble when the doctor told me that I have been diagnosed with Herpes simplex… I though about my Family, I know my Family will face a serious problem when I’m gone, I lost hope and I wept all day, but one day I was surfing the internet I found Dr. Suku contact number. I called him and he guided me. I asked him for solutions and he started the remedies for my health. Thank God, i was cure from herpes by the herbal medication I receiver from Dr Suku I never thought that herpes can be cure until I met Dr Suku who use is special medication to heal me,I will want us to share tip and forum on his email:greatsukusolutiontemple@hotmail.com or call +2348074839242,I will drop Dr Suku contact for any kinds of diseases for cure,him website; http://greatsukusolutiont.wix.com/dr-suku