If I Dont Have Herpes Now How Can I Avoid It In The Future
The only sure-fire way to avoid getting genital herpes is to abstain from sex or have sex only with someone who is also herpes-free. Short of that, a latex condom offers some protection if it covers the infected area. Remember, you can get genital herpes by receiving oral sex from someone with a cold sore on the mouth. Likewise, you can get oral herpes from someones genitals by way of oral sex.
If you know that a sex partner has genital herpes, you can reduce your risk by having sex only when they have no symptoms. Nevertheless, genital herpes can be contagious even when there are no visible symptoms, so you should always use a latex barrier, such as a condom or a dental dam.
If your partner has a known history of herpes, the rate of transmission can be decreased by having your partner on a daily prophylactic dose of antiviral herpes medication like acyclovir. Your partners doctor can prescribe this.
Studies are under way to investigate medicated gel products that can be placed in the vagina to reduce the transmission of herpes and HIV. These may be available in the near future.
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- What is the best treatment for me?
- What are the side effects of antiviral medications?
- How can I reduce the risk of future outbreaks?
- Whats the best way to prevent getting another STI?
- How can I protect my partner from getting genital herpes?
- Should I look out for signs of complications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Millions of people are living with the herpes virus that causes genital herpes. Its a common STI. You shouldnt be embarrassed or put off seeking medical care if you develop symptoms. Treatments can ease symptoms, reduce outbreaks and protect sexual partners from infection. Having the virus shouldnt affect your relationships or sexual health. However, you do need to tell your sexual partners that you have the virus. Your healthcare provider can discuss ways to prevent spreading this STI.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/23/2020.
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A Sexually Transmitted Infection
Katie Salerno/Flickr Creative Commons
Contracting other sexually transmitted diseases can significantly increase the risk of getting HIV. For instance, some STDs like syphilis and herpes cause skin lesions that make it easier for HIV to enter the body.
STDs may also cause inflammation, which is something that is triggered by the body’s immune system. HIV preferentially infects defensive white blood cells, so when there are more of them around, it’s easier to contract HIV.
Having an STD like gonorrhea or syphilis means that you’ve engaged in unprotected sex, a key risk factor for HIV. So if you have been diagnosed with an STD, talk to your healthcare provider about how you can reduce your HIV risk.
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The Death Toll From Aids Is Astronomic
Since the HIV/AIDS epidemic began in 1981, more than 70 million people worldwide have been infected with the virus, and approximately 35 million people have died from AIDS, including more than 675,000 in the United States, according to agencies such as the World Health Organization and the CDC. People in other parts of the world are much more severely affected in sub-Saharan Africa, almost 1 in every 25 adults has HIV. Overall, however, the rate of new HIV infections and diagnoses is now dropping in the United States, likely thanks to prevention efforts, the CDC reports. But progress has been uneven. Certain groups, such as Hispanic and Latino gay and bisexual men, have had rising numbers of infections and diagnoses.
Testing For Genital Herpes
If you think you may have genital herpes you should make an appointment with your GP or local sexual health services.
If there are symptoms present such as blisters, sores and ulcers, your doctor or nurse may be able to make a diagnosis straight away.
If you have visible blisters, your doctor or nurse may take a swab for testing, to check if this is herpes and what type. This swab can also test for another STI which causes blisters called syphilis.
The genital herpes swab tests is very reliable, though if the ulcer is too dry then the result may be less likely to find a positive result.
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Battling Hiv Drug Side Effects
HIV medications are powerful drugs. If a person living with HIV experiences fatigue after starting a new drug regimen, they should consult with their healthcare provider. Trying a different drug or combination of HIV drugs may help.
Changing antiretroviral regimens is a serious undertaking. Changing regimens can increase the risk for developing a resistance to antiretroviral drugs. A person living with HIV should not stop taking their medication without first discussing it with their healthcare provider. Pausing antiretroviral medication can cause HIV infection to become resistant to medication.
If a person feels like their HIV medication may be causing fatigue, they should talk with their healthcare provider. It may be possible to switch to a medication that doesnt cause this symptom. Be sure to follow the healthcare providers instructions to make the switch as safe as possible.
Genital Herpes Treatment In Pregnancy
You may be offered antiviral treatment:
- to treat outbreaks in pregnancy
- from 36 weeks to reduce the chance of an outbreak during birth
- from diagnosis until the birth if you first get herpes after 28 weeks of pregnancy
Many women with genital herpes have a vaginal delivery. You may be offered a caesarean, depending on your circumstances.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hiv
No two people with HIV will have the same symptoms, and some may not have any at all. But the infection can cause some common changes over time.
In the first few weeks: These first, flu-like symptoms happen because your body is reacting to HIV. Your immune system is trying to fight it off. The symptoms at this stage can include:
- Aches and pains in muscles and joints
Keep in mind that even if you have these symptoms, that doesnât automatically mean you are HIV-positive. Many different illnesses can cause these problems. Talk to a doctor or an HIV testing facility if you think you might be infected.
At this early stage of HIV infection, itâs important to know that you may not get accurate results from an HIV test. It can take 3-12 weeks for enough signs of the virus to show up on routine tests for the infection, which measure antibodies against HIV. A new kind of screening, called a nucleic acid test, can detect the virus itself during this early stage, but itâs expensive and not usually used for routine HIV testing.
Let the testing site or your doctor know if you think you might be recently infected. Also, be sure to use a condom every time you have sex, and take other steps to prevent spreading the virus.
After years with untreated HIV, youâre likely to get infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi that your body is no longer strong enough to fight off. They can be a sign that your infection has gone from HIV to AIDS. You might have:
- Weight loss
At Most Risk: Children Teens Lgbtq2 In That Order
Among the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and two-spirit communities , more learning is needed. Based on simple statistics, children, teens and the LGBTQ2 communities need more learning and prevention help because they are the statistical breeding ground for new infections.
Medical outreach and education on risk patterns and prevention of the transmission of communicable diseases is important but the most important mantra for HIV is: Get Tested.
Afraid of privacy issues? Do it yourself. Self testing is a legitimate, responsible and reliable way to test for HIV.
HIV, AIDS and Hepatitis probably top the list of preventable sexually transmitted diseases. Start preventing.
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Days To 20 Years After Exposure
The chronic stage of infection occurs once the immune system brings the virus under control. During this phase, HIV will go into hiding, where it resides in various cells and tissues throughout the body in a dormant state known as latency. HIV latency can persist without symptoms for 10 years or more, although some people may experience signs within a year or two.
During the early chronic phase, lymphadenopathy may be the only notable sign of an HIV infection. In some cases, the glands may be visibly enlarged and reach up to an inch or more in size. If the condition persists for more than three months, its referred to as persistent generalized lymphadenopathy .
Even during latency, the virus will multiple imperceptibly and gradually deplete immune cells known as CD4 T-cells. As immune deficiency develops, a number of nonspecific symptoms are likely to appear, including:
- Oral candidiasis , a fungal infection that causes the formation of creamy, white lesions on the sides of the tongue and lining of the mouth
- Unexplained fevers and drenching night sweats that soak through bedsheets and nightclothes
- Severe, uncontrolled diarrhea that lasts for more than three days
Each of these symptoms is commonly seen in persons with immune deficiency. They may, in some cases, be caused by HIV itself or by an infection that has yet to be diagnosed.
What Is The Link Between Genital Herpes And Hiv
Herpes infection can cause sores or breaks in the skin or lining of the mouth, vagina, and rectum. This provides a way for HIV to enter the body. Even without visible sores, having genital herpes increases the number of CD4 cells found in the lining of the genitals. When a person has both HIV and genital herpes, the chances are higher that HIV will be spread to an HIV-uninfected sex partner during sexual contact with their partners mouth, vagina, or rectum.
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Its Not Just A Mans Disease
Approximately one-quarter of people with HIV in the United States are female, the CDC reports, and most were exposed to the virus through heterosexual sex. A woman who is pregnant and has HIV/AIDS can pass HIV to her unborn children during pregnancy she can also transmit the virus during childbirth and when breast-feeding, the CDC says.
Second Stage: Clinical Latency Symptoms
After your immune system loses the battle with HIV, the flu-like symptoms will go away. But thereâs a lot going on inside your body. Doctors call this the asymptomatic period or chronic HIV infection.
In your body, cells called CD4 T cells coordinate your immune systemâs response. During this stage, untreated HIV will kill CD4 cells and destroy your immune system. Your doctor can check how many of these cells you have with blood tests. Without treatment, the number of CD4 cells will drop, and youâll be more likely to get other infections.
Most people don’t have symptoms they can see or feel. You may not realize that you’re infected and can pass HIV on to others.
If youâre taking ART, you might stay in this phase for decades. You can pass the virus on to other people, but itâs extremely rare if you take your medicines.
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If I Am Pregnant And Have Hiv Will My Baby Also Have Hiv
Most women with HIV can protect their baby from becoming infected during pregnancy. Proper pre-natal treatment can reduce the risk that an HIV-positive mother will pass the virus to her child to less than 1 percent. The only way these special treatments can be provided is if the health care professionals know the mother is living with HIV. Treatment is most effective when started early in pregnancy. HIV-positive moms should not breastfeed their babies because HIV is sometimes passed this way.
Hiv Has A Powerful Opponent
Before 1996, contracting the HIV was basically a death sentence. But then, over the course of the next two decades, a regimen of drugs known as antiretroviral therapy evolved and came into use. This drug regimen helps prevent the virus from replicating and can help keep the infection from causing AIDS, transforming a fatal disease into a manageable one. These drugs have been an amazing scientific advancement, Dr. Santiago says. Most of the people who die nowadays are those who are unaware they have until symptoms become severe. Even people who think they may have been exposed to HIV have options if they act very quickly. The CDC advises you to alert your healthcare provider and start a regimen of ART medicines called post-exposure prophylaxis within 72 hours.
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How Do People Get Hiv
HIV spreads when infected blood or body fluids enter the body. This can happen:
- during sex
- through sharing needles for injecting drugs or tattooing
HIV also can pass from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
HIV is NOT spread through:
- pee, poop, spit, throw-up, or sweat
- coughing or sneezing
- sharing eating utensils or drinking glasses
Battling Idiopathic Hiv Fatigue
When the source of fatigue cant be linked to depression, insomnia, drug reactions, or other causes, its said to be idiopathic HIV fatigue. This means the cause of fatigue is unknown.
Idiopathic HIV fatigue is common, but its hard to predict. A person living with HIV may experience it at any point in the day, or, they may go days without feeling tired. The use of stimulants such as methylphenidate and dextroamphetamine may be helpful for some people. A healthcare provider may prescribe them for everyday use or just when one first begins to notice fatigue.
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Hiv Prevention Is Key
Because HIV is transmitted by the exchange of bodily fluids, the best way to prevent infection is to always practice safer sex and avoid using drug paraphernalia like needles. The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested at least once for HIV, and as often as every six months if you have multiple sexual partners, have unprotected sex, or use needles to inject drugs. If youre at a very high risk for getting infected for example, if your current sexual partner has HIV taking a medication called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, may help keep you safe, says the CDC. This preventive treatment lowers your chances of being infected by stopping the virus from getting a foothold in your body. The catch is that you have to take PrEP very consistently exactly as your doctor prescribes it. The CDC says this regimen can lower your risk of getting HIV from sex by 90 percent and cut the risk of transmission among injection drug users by more than 70 percent.
How Is Hiv Diagnosed
An HIV antibody test, either from a blood sample or an oral sample , can tell whether you have been infected. A negative test result means no HIV antibodies were found. This usually means you are not infected. However, if you engaged in behavior that could spread the virus within three months of having the test, antibodies may not be detectable and you should be re-tested. A positive test result means antibodies to HIV were found. This means you are infected with the virus and can pass HIV to others even if you have no symptoms. You are infected for life. Even if you think you have a low risk for HIV infection, consider getting tested whenever you have a regular medical check-up.
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How Is Hiv Spread From Person To Person
HIV can only be spread through specific activities. In the United States, the most common ways are:
- Having vaginal or anal sex with someone who has HIV without using a condom or taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV. Anal sex is riskier than vaginal sex.
- Sharing injection drug equipment , such as needles, with someone who has HIV.
Less common ways are:
- From mother to child during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. However, the use of HIV medicines and other strategies have helped lower the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV to 1% or less in the United States.
- Getting stuck with an HIV-contaminated needle or other sharp object. This is a risk mainly for health care workers. The risk is very low.
HIV is spread only in extremely rare cases by:
- Having oral sex. But in general, the chance that an HIV-negative person will get HIV from oral sex with an HIV-positive partner is extremely low.
Ways Hiv Cannot Be Spread
HIV is not spread by:
- Air or water
- Mosquitoes, ticks or other insects
- Saliva, tears, or sweat that is not mixed with the blood of a person with HIV
- Shaking hands hugging sharing toilets sharing dishes, silverware, or drinking glasses or engaging in closed-mouth or social kissing with a person with HIV
- Drinking fountains
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Your Stomach Feels Off
A trio of gastrointestinal symptomsdiarrhea, nausea, and vomitingmay also be a marker for initial HIV infection, says Amruta Padhye, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at the University of Missouri Health Care. With rising viremia , the immune system is in a state of hyperactivation, she explains.
Bottom line? Your GI distress might not be just a stomach bug, so get it checked out if youre at risk for HIV.
*Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.