This post will break down herpes transmission rates with the use of varying precautions and other factors. These herpes transmission rates should be encouraging for couples who wish to have a healthy sex life without passing the virus from one partner to the uninfected partner. Herpes is far more common than many people think, and yet most of those who have it don’t even know. For example, if you have a cold sore and kiss someone, you can transfer the virus to their mouth. For those who recognize their symptoms, asymptomatic transmission appears to be far less likely than spreading the virus when lesions are present. After getting infected, most people have recurrent episodes of genital ulcers for several years. Genital herpes can be spread even when there are no visible ulcers or blisters. A small percentage of people can develop headache, nausea and vomiting, or difficulty urinating. The risk of spreading the infection is much greater when a person has signs or symptoms of active infection.
You can also get herpes from an infected sex partner who does not have a visible sore or who may not know he or she is infected because the virus can be released through your skin and spread the infection to your sex partner(s). Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results;. Herpes infection can be passed from you to your unborn child and cause a potentially deadly infection (neonatal herpes). About 10 percent of adults in the United States have both herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2. Transmission of HSV-2 to an uninfected partner depends on many different factors, and it is difficult to give precise figures. I’m long since married now, but I’ve always wondered, does having had oral herpes make one immune to contracting genital herpes? Nathan, NYC. Most new cases of genital herpes infection do not cause symptoms, and many people infected with HSV-2 are unaware that they have genital herpes. The herpes simplex virus passes through bodily fluids (such as saliva, semen, or fluid in the female genital tract) or in fluid from a herpes sore. In general, recurrences are much milder than the initial outbreak. Most patients have only a couple of outbreaks a year, although a small percentage of patients have more frequent recurrences.
If you want to prevent transmission of herpes simplex between partners, we recommend that condoms be used 100 percent of the time. Careful studies have shown that asymptomatic shedding occurs between one and three percent of the time in patients who have had previous HSV II genital infections. A large portion of new herpes infections occur from partners who are shedding the virus asymptomatically. Many have no symptoms or mistake their symptoms for something else, such as jock itch, insect bites, hemorrhoids, yeast infections, razor burn, or allergies. Either type of herpes virus can invade both oral genital areas of the body. However, the 12-month recurrence rates among patients with first episode are 90 for HSV-2 and 55 for HSV-1 infection 15. Note: Humans are the only natural reservoir for transmission of HSV 7. I have herpes, now what? You can make a big deal of it, there are websites that suggest you have to.
And people who do have symptoms of herpes infection carry active forms of the virus on their genital tract 20 percent of the time, said study researcher Dr. It’s long been known that the herpes simplex virus type 2 is contagious even if a person doesn’t have symptoms of the virus, Johnson said. But the new finding shows what percent of the time the virus is actually active and infectious, she added. Pass it on: People infected with genital herpes but don’t show any symptoms can still be contagious and spread the virus to sexual partners. About 50 to 80 percent of U.S. adults carry HSV-1 (oral herpes), while 20 percent of people age 12 and older have HSV-2. People with dormant herpes virus can still pass it to others, though outbreaks of herpes sores make transmission more likely. Your risk of transmitting herpes based on the strain, how asymptomatic shedding increases ones risk, and a prior infection with cold sores might help. Children who have no prior infections with an HSV strain do not have an acquired immune response and are most susceptible. Even Without Symptoms, Genital Herpes Can Spread. According to a new study, people who test positive for herpes simplex virus-2 can shed the virus even though they have no symptoms. About 85 percent of the genetic material, these viruses are the same, but evolutionarily they sort of diverged years ago when humans started having sex face to face. So if you’re having symptoms, you may, you know, proceed to go in and see someone, but there’s so much stigma associated with the diagnosis that most folks aren’t willing to go in and actually even have a discussion about something that might be occurring on their genitals with their physician or anybody else for that matter. To understand how to reduce the risk of transmitting herpes to your partner, it’s useful to start by understanding how herpes actually works. However, it may continue throughout the life of the infection and you cannot guarantee that because you have no visible sores that your partner will not be infected. It is worth noting that condoms are much more effective at preventing male to female infections than female to male infections. Nearly 50 million Americans, or 20 percent, carry the virus for genital herpes and anywhere from 50 to 80 percent carry the virus for oral herpes. Some worry that they will lead a partner on by not being honest from the start, while others all but assume they will be rejected if a partner learns they have herpes and, as a result, may avoid the issue for some time. Using condoms and dental dams can minimize the risk of transmitting herpes, though not eliminate it, as can medication to manage herpes outbreaks, abstinence during outbreaks and healthy lifestyle choices to help the immune system fight the virus. Once in a committed, monogamous relationship, many with herpes transition to not using condoms, so long as both partners are otherwise STI-free.
Frequently Asked Questions About Herpes
6 Although 80 percent of victims will have subsequent outbreaks, future episodes tend to be even milder than the first, and so many people ignore the symptoms — and the doctor. If herpes tends to be so minor that it can be missed, what’s the big deal about getting infected? Beyond those painful genital bumps and a good dose of humiliation, the more serious consequences include the fact that sores can infect other parts of the body, should an infected person touch a genital sore and then another body part, including the eyes. Almost 90 percent of Americans will have the most common form of herpes Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 (HSV-1) or oral herpes ( cold sores ) at some time in their life. Herpes can be passed from one partner to another or from one part of your own body to another part. Condom use reduces, but does not eliminate, the risk of contracting genital herpes, according to a new review of research. Although the magnitude of the protective effect was not as large as has been observed with other STIs, a 30 percent reduction in HSV-2 incidence can have a substantial benefit for individuals as well as a public health impact at the population level, writes researcher Emily T. Although the magnitude of the protective effect was not as large as has been observed with other STIs, a 30 percent reduction in HSV-2 incidence can have a substantial benefit for individuals as well as a public health impact at the population level, writes researcher Emily T. Take antiviral medicine. Taking daily valacyclovir, an antiviral medicine, can prevent spread of genital herpes to your sexual partner even when you do not have an active outbreak.
One large study found that condom usage was associated with lower rates of HSV-2 acquisition the more frequently someone used condoms, the lower the risk. Transmission rates were even lower among couples who used condoms. If you have a genital HSV infection, you can ask a sexual health expert, such as a provider at Planned Parenthood, to educate you on how to be more aware of any cues that the virus is flaring up. To reduce risk of transmitting the virus to your partner, it’s important to use condoms each and every time, in combination with other risk-reducing strategies like medications (acyclovir). This is because a newly infected mother does not have antibodies against the virus, so there is no natural protection for the baby during birth. Herpes can also be spread to the baby in the first weeks of life if he or she is kissed by someone with an active cold sore (oral herpes). Ask your provider not to use a fetal scalp monitor (scalp electrodes) during labor to monitor the baby’s heart rate unless medically necessary. TV shows, movies, and society as a whole create this stigma around herpes when really, there’s not too much to be scared of. It is a viral infection of the genitals that can also affect other parts of the body. These active sores can spread the disease. This is called asymptomatic shedding and causes a larger percentage of new genital herpes infections. People infected with genital herpes may have no sores or other recognizable symptoms. Moreover, people who do have herpes outbreaks can live long and healthy lives and still have sex without passing the virus to their partners. Three-fourths of individuals who know that they have genital herpes either abstain from vaginal sex or always use condoms when they have symptoms, but only one-fifth do so when they are free of symptoms.