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Whether you’re worried about a recent incident, experiencing concerning symptoms. For a more comprehensive assessment, our medical team has  carefully designed STI Screens to meet your specific needs.

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The Disease Known as Herpes

Herpes is a prevalent viral infection that is highly transmissible between individuals. Two distinct viruses are responsible for causing Herpes, namely Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) and Herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2). HSV-1 infection is the usual cause of Oral Herpes, which can result in the development of small blisters filled with fluid or cold sores on the lips and mouth. On the other hand, HSV-2 infection typically leads to Genital Herpes, which causes sores to form around the genital area, anus, and buttocks.

What is the prevalence of Herpes?

HSV or Herpes Simplex Virus infection is highly prevalent and can be easily transmitted from person to person. It is estimated that approximately 67% of individuals under the age of 50 have been infected with HSV-1 globally, while approximately 417 million people are believed to have HSV-2 infection. HSV-1 is the more widespread strain of Herpes. Women are more likely to contract Herpes, specifically HSV-2, than men.

Is there a way to prevent contracting Herpes?

Contracting herpes occurs when one has unprotected oral, vaginal, or anal contact with an infected individual, whether it be sexual or non-sexual. HSV-1 is commonly transmitted through kissing, while HSV-2 is typically transmitted through unprotected sexual contact.

If you come into physical contact with someone who has visible blisters or sores, you are at a high risk of contracting either virus. In some cases, the virus can be transmitted between individuals even without any apparent signs of infection, known as “asymptomatic viral shedding”.

Is it possible to contract Herpes without engaging in sexual activity?

The transmission of Herpes can occur through either sexual or non-sexual means, such as kissing. However, there is no risk of contracting Herpes through sharing personal items such as towels, cutlery, or cups, as the virus cannot survive for long outside of the skin.

What are the indications and manifestations of Herpes?

Herpes symptoms are experienced by only one-third of the population. These symptoms are typically mild and can be mistaken for bacterial infections. Both men and women may experience similar symptoms, which often go unnoticed or are wrongly identified as bacterial infections.

The initial indications of oral Herpes may include a tingling, itching, or burning feeling in or near the mouth. This is typically succeeded by the appearance of painful blisters or ulcers in or around the mouth. Blisters may be observed within 21 days after becoming infected with HSV1.

The initial signs of Genital Herpes consist of a rise in body temperature, general body discomfort, and enlarged lymph nodes. These are subsequently followed by the appearance of blisters or open sores in the genital or anal area. Some individuals may also encounter discomfort while urinating. On the first outbreak, visible symptoms, such as sores inside the vagina or anus, are typically only observed.

The initial occurrence of Herpes is expected to exhibit the most intense symptoms. Subsequent outbreaks of Herpes are less severe and gradually occur less often. Recurring symptoms are typically noticeable on the skin.

At what point should I consider getting tested for Herpes?

If you are experiencing symptoms, it is possible to undergo testing for Herpes at any given point. However, if you do not have any symptoms, it is recommended to wait for a period of 4 weeks after any potential incident before getting tested for Herpes. It is advisable to consider getting tested for Herpes as a means to manage your sexual well-being and to alleviate any concerns you may have.

What is the process for getting tested for Herpes?

Test4STI offers an effective means to manage your wellbeing through testing. Their testing process is quick, uncomplicated, and comfortable. They provide three options to test for both forms of HSV.

A blood test can be performed if there are no symptoms present.

  • Test for urine – in case you are currently experiencing any symptoms
  • The swab test is recommended for individuals who have a blister or an open sore.

Typically, your test results will be delivered within 2 to 5 business days once your sample has been received by our laboratory. These results will indicate whether you have been infected with HSV-1, HSV-2, or both.

What are the potential consequences of not treating Herpes?

Although Herpes is not likely to result in any significant health issues, it can be quite uncomfortable and draining. It is crucial to undergo testing to prevent the transmission of Herpes to others. Failure to treat Herpes may heighten the risk of contracting another sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Occasionally, the blisters may be affected by bacteria, resulting in skin infections that can extend to different regions of the body, including the lips, hands, and fingers. In extremely uncommon scenarios, the virus can spread to other parts of the body, such as the brain, eyes, liver, or lungs. Coming into contact with a Herpes sore can also cause a condition called Herpetic Whitlow, where the Herpes Simplex virus infects the fingers and thumb, causing intense discomfort and requiring medical intervention.

What impact can Herpes have on a pregnant individual and their unborn child?

During pregnancy, there is a higher chance of experiencing Herpes outbreaks. However, it is unlikely for these outbreaks to cause harm to the baby. In some cases, pregnant women who have never had any Herpes symptoms may suddenly experience them for the first time.

Newborn Herpes, also known as neonatal Herpes, has a global incidence of 1 in 10,000 births. It can result in long-term brain disabilities or even fatality. The chances of developing neonatal Herpes are higher if the mother contracts the virus for the first time during pregnancy and has sores near the vaginal opening. In such cases, a caesarean section is often recommended. However, if the mother acquires the virus during the initial stages of pregnancy, the risk of miscarriage increases. For pregnant women experiencing a recurrent episode, a vaginal delivery is advised. If there are concerns about Herpes during pregnancy, it is advisable to consult with a midwife.

If I receive a positive test result for Herpes, what should I do?

Due to the permanent presence of the virus in the surrounding nerves of the affected region, there is currently no known cure for Herpes. Nevertheless, there are various medications and creams available that can assist in minimizing the intensity and frequency of outbreaks.

If you receive a positive test result, you have the option to consult with your own doctor about appropriate medication and lifestyle modifications. Alternatively, you can contact Test4STI to schedule a private consultation with a doctor by calling the number provided at the top of the page. Your doctor’s guidance and Test4STI’s services can help you manage your condition effectively.

If you are experiencing symptoms of Herpes, the chances of transmitting the virus to others are increased. It is advised to engage in safe sexual practices, such as using a condom, or abstaining from sexual activity until the symptoms have disappeared.

What is the treatment for Herpes?

Herpes has no known cure. However, the infection can be managed and the frequency of outbreaks can be reduced through the use of anti-viral medications, including creams and pills. Making lifestyle changes, such as reducing stress levels, can also contribute to longer periods between outbreaks and less severe symptoms. It is important to refrain from engaging in any form of unprotected sexual activity while experiencing symptoms of Herpes.

At Test4STI, we are able to schedule a confidential appointment with a doctor to go over your test findings. Alternatively, you have the option to seek advice from a doctor of your choosing.

Is it Possible for Herpes to Reappear?

The Herpes virus remains in the nerves of the affected region for the duration of a person’s life. It stays dormant until certain circumstances, such as harsh weather or stress, trigger its activation. This leads to an outbreak of symptoms. While most individuals may experience 2-4 outbreaks annually, the frequency may differ for each person.

How soon can I engage in sexual activity after receiving treatment for Herpes?

It is important to refrain from having unprotected sexual intercourse until your symptoms have completely subsided. This precaution is necessary in order to minimize the chances of transmitting the infection to your sexual partner(s).

What is the process for scheduling a Herpes test?

Test4STI is a renowned global provider of confidential sexual health testing services. Our priority is to offer prompt and precise testing for your peace of mind.

To schedule a test with Test4STI, simply contact our Sexual Health Advisory team at the provided number. Our knowledgeable Patient Services staff will assist you in choosing the appropriate test and arranging any necessary follow-up appointments. Alternatively, you can book your test online by clicking the Get Started button.

The testing we carry out is performed at laboratories that have been officially accredited.

Your personal information is handled in a safe and secure manner.

Our patient care team is always available to support and assist you, 24/7.

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