If you have previously Googled, ‘Is herpes curable?’ You might already know that it’s not. However, don’t panic. With antivirals, it is possible to prevent and shorten the outbreaks. It’s perfectly possible to live with it and have a perfectly healthy and normal sex life.
Let’s delve a little deeper into what Herpes is, and what can be done about it.
Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is the virus that causes herpes. There are two types of herpes simplex virus:
Herpes infections are widespread. Genital herpes affects one out of every six people aged 14 to 49, and around 50 to 90 percent of adults suffer from oral herpes.
Symptoms of Oral Herpes
The primary infection of oral herpes (HSV-1) is usually the most painful that causes red, itching, and painful blisters around the lips, gums, roof of the mouth, and inside the cheeks. Here are the symptoms of primary infection:
Recurring infections are milder and go through four stages:
Treatment Options for Oral Herpes
It is recommended to call your doctor if:
Your doctor will offer treatment for oral herpes after knowing:
Your treatment plan may include:
General Symptoms of Genital Herpes
During 2015-2016, the prevalence of herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) was 11.9%. Symptoms appear 2-20 days after exposure to the virus. Here are the five stages of genital herpes:
HSV-2 can also cause flu-like symptoms, including:
Symptoms of Genital Herpes in Men
Genital herpes can cause blisters on the:
Along with blisters, you might experience these symptoms too:
Symptoms of Genital Herpes in Women
HSV-2 is more common in women. Genital herpes can cause blisters on the:
Treatment Options for Genital Herpes
There is no cure for herpes. But that’s not to say you can’t live with it. You may get it once and then it’ll never return again! Antiviral drugs like Acyclovir, Famciclovir, Peramiriv, and Valacyclovir can prevent and shorten outbreaks. Here’s what the treatment plan includes:
Your doctor can diagnose genital herpes through a physical exam, a Polymerase chain test (PSR), and blood tests.
Herpes Treatment at Home
Looking for home remedies for herpes to manage the symptoms? Here are a few to try:
Ways to Reduce the Risk of Herpes
Don’t have sex during a herpes outbreak—not even with a condom because it is most likely to spread during an outbreak. Just give it a miss for a little bit whilst you get treatment or the symptoms disappear. Here’s what you can do to reduce the risk of contracting herpes:
If you have contracted herpes, don’t panic! Here’s what you need to do to ensure that you don’t pass it onto someone else:
Herpes is Extremely Common— it’s High-Time that we Normalise It
Herpes is most common among women as the virus is more easily transmitted from men to women. And yet it’s not something we talk about. It carries a stigma around it that it’s shameful - it’s not! It happens! And it happens to a lot of people.
No one knows for sure how many people have herpes, but experts estimate that a large portion of the world’s population has oral herpes. According to a WHO (World Health Organisation) report, globally, two-thirds (67%) of the population under 50 years old have oral herpes (HSV-1).
As herpes is not curable, people assume that their sex life is over. It’s not! However, shortening and preventing herpes outbreaks is possible—thanks to advancements in medical sciences.
Despite being so common, herpes still feels embarrassing, the subject to be avoided, which shouldn’t be the case at all. 87.4% of the people infected with herpes have never received a diagnosis; this tells you that most people are unaware of their infection and spread the virus unknowingly. So it’s not the infection for people who haven’t practised safe sex or been hygienic. It’s the infection for a heck of a lot of normal, sexually active, perfectly hygienic people.
The main issue is not the diagnosis but to have open and honest conversations around STIs. In America 1 out of 6 Americans, aged 14 to 49, have HSV-2. Can you imagine if you waited to try and find a partner who didn’t have it? You’re reducing your odds and it could take years! So, don’t look at herpes as a ‘disease.’ All you can do is take preventative measures, see it as something that can happen more often than not unknowingly and it doesn’t tie a sexual weight around your neck for the rest of your life.
Get out there, get talking, get testing, get honest and get active.