Hot Topic: What’s up with…Herpes
What is it?
Herpes simplex type 1 (HSV1) is a virus that causes cold sores, but it can also be spread to genitalia via oral sex
Herpes simplex type 2 (HSV2) causes genital herpes and is spread through sexual contact
How is it spread?
HSV1 or HSV2 can be spread even if someone doesn’t have any symptoms present.
You can be infected if you come into contact (vaginal, oral, or anal sex) with…
- herpes sores
- genital secretions
…from a person infected with herpes
How do I know if I have it?
Herpes is very common. Many people have mild or no symptoms, so they don’t even know they have it!
However, a herpes outbreak can occur leading to painful sores that take several weeks to clear.
Go see your doctor if you experience this! Your doctor will often diagnose you based on the presence of herpes sores!
How can I protect myself?
Using condoms/dental dams when having ANY type of sex can reduce your risk of contracting herpes.
However, herpes sores can appear on areas not covered by these, so avoid having vaginal, anal, or oral sex if your partner is experiencing an outbreak
Is there treatment?
There is no cure for herpes, but people experiencing an outbreak can receive medication to help clear the outbreak and reduce the risk of spreading herpes to a partner
Photos from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention