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

749 comments

Wrionma W.
Wrionma W.4 days ago

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Abbie B.
Abbie B.9 days ago

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Abbie B.
Abbie B.9 days ago

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Lisa M.
Lisa M.9 days ago

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Lisa M.
Lisa M.9 days ago

I am Susan Barlow and I want to give all thanks to Dr Ighodalo for helping me to cure my Herpes Simplex virus disease which i have been suffering for the past 3years, I found out I had herpes (type 2) on my genitalia 3years ago when my daughter was 8 weeks old. I was and am still devastated. I get a flare up about twice a year, but it's only one bump or so. Still, it sends me into depression. I have recently discovered Dr Ighodalo cure which i applied on bumps a few times a day which takes them away fairly quickly but before then, i really tried many prescribed medicine so that i can be cured from this deadly virus but all could not work for me all my prayers to God was to wake up one faithful day and get cured from the virus because i was finding it difficult to work in my office and it was still affecting my family till i meant up with my friend's cousin who introduce this Doctor to me Dr.Ighodalo and said that this same doctor healed her mom's friend, so i contacted him with doubting mindset but friends i could not believe it when he helped me with a positive solution and cure my herpes with his herbal cure remedies. You can also be cured if you are suffering from HERPES or any critical sickness that is giving you heartbreak and disturbing your family and job by contacting Dr. Ighodalo via dr.ighodalocuringhome@gmail.com
Dr IGHODALO CAN AS WELL CURE THE FOLLOWING DISEASES:-
1. HIV/AIDS
2. HERPES 1/2
3. CANCER
4. ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
5. Herpatitis B
6.ch

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