If you’ve been diagnosed with herpes, you’re not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports more than one in six Americans has this common sexually transmitted disease (STD). And around the world, nearly four billion people under age 50 live with herpes.
At Southern Crescent Women’s HealthCare in Fayetteville, Newnan, and Stockbridge, Georgia, our board-certified providers offer confidential STD testing and treatment. While there’s no cure for this infection, it is possible to have a healthy sex life after a diagnosis.
When you see our team, we guide you through your diagnosis, treatment options, and what you can expect in the years to come, so you can feel confident and comfortable living life with herpes. Toward that end, our providers have written this blog to give you a better understanding of living with herpes.
The herpes simplex virus is a viral infection that’s transmitted through sexual contact and kissing. As such, when you contract herpes, you can develop sores around your genitals or mouth.
Symptoms don’t necessarily appear right away. It could be months or even years before noticeable symptoms develop. However, you can still be contagious without visible symptoms.
When herpes triggers symptoms in women, these symptoms include:
- Small blisters that may pop or become open sores before scabbing
- Itching, swelling, and pain with the blisters
- Fever and body aches
- Muscle aches and fatigue
Like other viral infections, herpes can also cause your lymph nodes to swell and become painful and make you feel generally unwell.
Living a full life with herpes
Herpes is a lifelong infection, and the symptoms come and go. The good news is that antiviral medications can sometimes help. Everyone is unique, so talk with your Southern Crescent Women’s HealthCare provider about whether an antiviral medicine can help control your outbreaks.
You can still have a healthy, satisfying sex life after being diagnosed with herpes, but it’s important to be open and honest with your partner. If they haven’t already had STD testing, it’s important for them to get screened as soon as possible.
You’ll need to practice safe sex by using condoms between herpes flare-ups. And when you have an active outbreak, you should refrain from sexual contact, because the herpes virus can spread more easily during outbreaks. For this reason, a condom might not offer enough protection.
It’s also important to talk with your doctor about pregnancy and herpes. If you were diagnosed well before your pregnancy, your baby has a lower risk of contracting the virus. However, if you get herpes while you’re pregnant, you have a higher risk for miscarriage, early delivery, and giving herpes to your baby. Your provider will work with you to reduce these risks and help you and your baby stay healthy.
Do you have more questions about living with herpes? Get the help you need by calling 770-991-2200 or booking an appointment online with Southern Crescent Women’s HealthCare today.