Get the facts about Herpes in relationships
This may be the point where you discover your partner has herpes too, and has and knowledgeable before you can explain the infection to someone else. Is herpes a deal breaker? Are you stupid to continue a relationship with someone who has herpes? Or are you stupid for breaking it off? I won't. How one woman overcame embarrassment -- and found true love. He said he would know if he had been with someone who had herpes. "How?" I asked.
You can have a normal life with good relationships. Millions of people with this common condition do just that. Still, all herpes experts stress that the illness is remarkably common. For this reason, says Dr. Henderson, stigma around the illness is likely to fade over time.
How to Learn, and Talk, About Genital Herpes Herpes is almost never a life-threatening illness, and it has few long-term health effects for most people. For this reason, says Henderson, you can come to view it as an inconvenience. Here are tips to help you stay calm while you deal with all the thoughts and feelings that a herpes diagnosis can bring.
Before discussing herpes with a partner, learn the facts yourself. To get your facts straight, speak with a doctor or other healthcare practitioner. A doctor can tell you what is going on with you specifically, and also be empathetic.
However, there are steps which you can take to reduce outbreaks and help bring the herpes virus under control. This section explains what you can do and answers some other questions which you may have about living with genital herpes. Recurrences Once you have acquired the herpes simplex virus HSV-2 it remains permanently resident in your body, living in a structure called the dorsal root ganglion, which is part of the nervous tissue located near to the base of the spinal column.
It spreads down the nerve to break out on the skin from time to time. Most of the time it is inactive, but every so often something happens to reactivate it, which causes the symptoms you recognise.
Sometimes the herpes virus can reactivate and be shed without recognisable herpes symptoms asymptomatic shedding.
Dating someone with herpes?? - Relationships | Forums | What to Expect
It is not known exactly why the herpes virus becomes active again. Some people recognise certain trigger factors which contribute to an outbreak. These may include friction due to sexual intercourse, ill health, stress, fatigue, depression, loss of sleep, direct sunlight and menstruation.
Many people find that as the years go by the number and severity of their herpes recurrences naturally diminish.
Education and counselling will often help an individual cope with recurrences. People who make contact with a support group for people with genital herpes often describe this as being a turning point in their coping with genital herpes in their life.
Suppressive therapy involves taking an oral antiviral drug every day for prolonged periods. When recurrences do occur, they are usually less severe and shorter lasting. If you find the frequency of your outbreaks unacceptable, or if you are finding it difficult to cope emotionally with having recurrences of genital herpes, tell your doctor and discuss the use of suppressive therapy. How effective is suppressive therapy?
For example, a very large study found that people who had an average of over 12 herpes occurrences a year, could reduce the frequency of their herpes outbreaks to less than two a year after one year of continuous suppressive therapy. The study also showed that if recurrences do occur during suppressive therapy, they are usually less severe and shorter lasting.
I now take aciclovir mg twice a day and have not had any outbreaks since. If your outbreaks are frequent, I really recommend it. Your doctor may agree that suppressive antiviral therapy is suitable for you if one of the following applies to you: You are having frequent herpes recurrences. You have less frequent but particularly severe or long lasting herpes outbreaks.
Dating someone with herpes??
You find recurrences of genital herpes are making you depressed, anxious or withdrawn, or the emotional upset caused to you by genital herpes is disrupting your social activities or sex life.
Such feelings can themselves bring on a recurrence and so you can easily get into a vicious cycle. Taking suppressive therapy, perhaps only for a short time, can help you break the cycle and give you a sense of control over the infection.
You experience severe pain neuralgia due to recurrent herpes episodes. You have only a few herpes recurrences but they always occur during specific situations, for example, when you have exams or go on holiday. You may wish to start suppressive therapy before you go on holiday and continue on it until you return, thereby reducing the chance of a recurrence. You have recurrences when you are starting a new relationship — suppressive therapy may decrease the risk of herpes transmission to your partner.
You know that stress is a trigger factor for your herpes recurrences, and you are going through a stressful period, for example a new job or a recent death in the family. You want to avoid a situation which would be spoilt by a herpes recurrence, for example if you are going on your honeymoon. You have another illness which triggers a recurrence of herpes — a course of suppressive therapy may be appropriate until the condition triggering the outbreak has resolved.
How do I take suppressive therapy? There are two oral antivirals available for suppressive treatment in New Zealand: Aciclovir tablets mg taken twice daily, morning and night. If you start suppressive therapy, it is important not to miss any doses and to take it regularly at approximately 12 hourly intervals.
If your recurrences are not suppressed by this dose, you should discuss this with your doctor as taking mg four times a day may be more effective. Aciclovir is also avalable in a soluble form if you are unable to swallow tablets.
Valtrex tablets mg taken once a day. This is a new generation antiviral with better absorption. How long will I need to take the treatment? Many people who use suppressive therapy say that they get so used to taking the tablets or capsules they are happy to continue with the treatment.
If you choose suppressive therapy, you do not have to stay on it permanently. If you prefer, you can take it until you feel in control of the herpes infection, but this is usually a period of months initially. Your doctor may suggest you stop the suppressive therapy for several months after you have taken suppressive therapy for some time, in order to assess how active your genital herpes remains.
If you are still having problems with herpes recurrences, you and your doctor may then decide that you should start suppressive therapy again. Is it safe to take the treatment for a long time? Aciclovir has been reported to cause no serious side-effects, even after years of use. A few people taking suppressive therapy do experience minor side-effects such as headache, nausea and diarrhoea.
If you have a problem, discuss this with your doctor. Research to date shows that people with normal immune systems who are on oral antivirals for a long period do not develop virus resistance or clinical breakthrough. Also, there is little interaction with other drugs, e.
Will suppressive therapy make it easier to live with Genital Herpes? Suppressive herpes therapy may give marked improvement to your emotional well-being. Many people find the fact that they can control the infection gives a boost to their sense of well-being and self-confidence.
Even if only taken for a few months, suppressive therapy can help you to come to terms with emotions caused by recurrent genital herpes, including depression and anxiety. However, suppressive therapy is only part of it.
There are benefits gained from expert counselling from your doctor or nurse, or by speaking to a counsellor on the tollfree Herpes Helpline 11 12 Make sure that you continue to talk to a health professional you are comfortable with, at least until you feel completely at ease with having genital herpes and in command of the infection.
Are any other treatments effective against Genital Herpes? The antiviral drug Aciclovir was the first therapy which had been shown conclusively to be effective in treating genital herpes. New antiviral drugs have become available which work in a similar way to Aciclovir, are more effective and require less frequent dosing to treat or suppress the recurrence.
These are not available in New Zealand. However, these are still in the developmental research stage and will not be available commercially for some years. Many people find that having a healthy diet, eating regularly and getting enough sleep are helpful in preventing recurrences. Can Genital Herpes harm babies, either during or after pregnancy? Having genital herpes does not affect your ability to have a baby. Overall, the incidence of neonatal herpes babies up to 28 days old infected by herpes is very rare.
However, when it does occur it is potentially very harmful to the baby. It is therefore important to tell your doctor or midwife if you or your partner have had a history of genital herpes. They will then be able to provide information, reassurance and optimal management. Recurrent episodes of genital herpes during pregnancy are not harmful to the foetus. If you have genital herpes at the time when your baby is due, there is a small risk that the baby could become infected at delivery as it passes down the birth canal.
This risk is most substantial for mothers who are having their first ever episode of genital herpes near to or during delivery. Is it safe to take drug treatment for Genital Herpes during pregnancy? As with any drug therapies, oral antiviral tablets are not routinely recommended for use during pregnancy.
Aciclovir has been used for treating genital herpes for over 15 years and as with any drug, a register has been kept to report any adverse side effects for women who have taken it during pregnancy.
To date there have been no adverse side effects reported for either the baby or the mother. Due to the potential seriousness of a primary episode of genital herpes for the baby and the relative safety of Aciclovir, it is now recommended that Aciclovir is used for treating a first episode of genital herpes or severe recurrent herpes in the last trimester of pregnancy.
It is believed that the benefit of using Aciclovir, by reducing the risk of transmission of herpes to the baby, outweighs the risk of not using it. Episodic treatment Episodic treatment is taking a short course of Aciclovir at the onset of a recurrence. Those who have less frequent recurrences may find episodic herpes treatment useful. If taken soon enough, it may stop ulcers developing known as aborting the lesion. It helps to have aciclovir available beforehand.
The bottom line is that sexual activity is a natural act that most everyone will have at some point in their lives. With sexual activity anywhere by anyone, there is some level of risk. Preparing to Talk to Partner Before you talk about herpes and sexual health with a partner, make sure you are prepared to address any misinformation or misconceptions he or she might have.
How well informed are you? Do you know the basic steps to reduce the risk to your partner? Do you know the facts about herpes? You want to feel confident and knowledgeable before you can explain the infection to someone else. Be prepared with information from ASHA and other reliable sources.
Once you feel ready to open the discussion, you might want to look for logical ways to broach the subject. Sometimes public service announcements about sexual health or subjects closely related can open doors to discussions about herpes.
So even though a movie trailer seems to provide the perfect lead in, a crowded theater is probably not the best venue. A few tips to consider: You are not lecturing or confessing. Remember your delivery and body language becomes your message, too. Expect your partner to be accepting and supportive. People tend to behave as you expect them to. You can role-play with a friend and try out some conversation starters.
How Will a Partner React?