10 Common Herpes Myths and Facts
10 Things People Still Get Wrong about Herpes
Herpes is a common viral infection. It causes sores on genitals or mouth. It is annoying for many people and sometimes causes unbearable pain.
It is caused by two types of viruses: Herpes simplex virus type 1 and herpes simplex virus type 2. The symptoms produced by both viruses are almost similar. It spreads from direct skin to skin contact at the site of infection, during vaginal sex, oral sex, and kissing.
The outbreaks of herpes are painful blisters that appear when a person has a weak immune system. There are certain things about herpes that people get wrong. Some things that people get wrong about herpes are:
- Many people believe that cold sores and genital sores are different: Many people think that cold sores are not the result of herpes. This is a misconception. In most people, HSV-1 affects mouth and HSV-2 produces symptoms on genitals. Any virus can produce symptoms from skin to skin contact anywhere on the body.
- Many people believe that if they do not have an outbreak, they do not have herpes: Unfortunately, it is not true. If you do not have an outbreak in your life, it does not mean that you are not infected with the virus. It is studied that many people infected with the virus never experience an outbreak during their life. Some people may have mild outbreaks and can be confused with other skin problems such as skin rash or allergic reactions.
- People believe that if they get tested for STDs and found nothing, they are free from herpes: It is a myth because detection of the herpes virus is not included in the testing of routine STDs. A separate blood test has to be done to find out if a person has been exposed to the herpes virus or not. A positive result indicates that you have been exposed to the virus but it does not tell when and for how long you have been suffering. Another important thing about the herpes virus is that it is similar to the virus that causes shingles and chickenpox and if you have suffered from any one of those, you may get a positive result.
- It is believed that if a person does not have a visible outbreak, it is not contagious: A person may not always have an outbreak, but it is not sure if you are contagious or not at any stage. A herpes virus may be active during some days of the year and it may get transmitted to your partner even if you do not have any symptoms. Therefore, it is advised to practice safe sex.
- It is a myth that people having herpes are promiscuous: This is not true as it is not necessary that have to sleep with an infected person to get affected by the virus. There are so many people all around the world who are the carriers and are asymptomatic. If you have more than one partner, it surely increases your risk of getting an infection but it does not mean that you would not be affected if you have a single partner.
- Some people have a myth that they could not have children if they have herpes: It is a myth that people believe that they cannot give birth to a child if they are suffering from herpes. The herpes virus does not affect fertility and with the advancement of science and technology, there are many safe and effective ways through which you can make sure that the virus does not get transmitted to the baby at any stage.
- Another thing that people get wrong about herpes is that if their partner shows signs of herpes suddenly, he/she might have cheated. If you have been sexually active with your partner for 10-15 years and he/she shows signs of herpes virus suddenly, it does not mean that he/she has cheated. The herpes virus remains latent and lies dormant in the body for many years without producing any signs and symptoms. It is possible that you have been infected with the virus for many years and you remain asymptomatic but the virus may get triggered at the age of 50 years and you can get the symptoms at that time. It may happen due to excessive mental stress.
- People believe that we all are susceptible to get herpes: Herpes has become a common viral infection but it does not mean that you will get infected. So many people are suffering from the virus but it does not mean that they will transmit it to other people. If you are dating someone with the virus, it does not mean that your sexual life is finished. You can practice safe sex procedures to reduce the risk of spreading and catching the infection.
- Some people believe that they can break their relationship if they will discuss having a herpes virus with their partner. Herpes or not, an open discussion with a new partner about previous sexual experiences and even getting tested together before becoming intimate is important for a long term relationship. It is quite difficult to start the conversation, but it will help you to learn more about yourself and the other person. This information will help you to encourage moving forward into this new relationship or experience.
- It is believed that the herpes virus is commonly found when you are sexually active. It is not true because even virgins can suffer from the virus. It may happen if you have suffered from chickenpox in your life, you may get affected with the herpes virus even without becoming sexually active with someone.
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Dr Ritu Sandhu, B.H.M.S., Homeopath, and NASH member graduated From Chandigarh Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh, INDIA is a licensed Homeopathy practitioner since the last seventeen years. She writes on health-related topics to share her cumulative experience. Her mission is to uphold the time-honored values of compassion and humanity when caring for patients.