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Thoughts Regarding Herpes/Hsv?

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I'm curious what the general knowledge is on Herpes/Hsv around here, as I've been with a provider in the past who was unaware of the prevalence of it and the ease of infection, which was quite surprising.

 

There seems to be a lot of stigma surrounding hsv particularly directed at the unlucky individuals that actually show symptoms of genital herpes (sores).

People seem to think that as long as they don't show symptoms they are "clean".

 

Some facts:

1) Herpes (type 1) is present in upwards of 80% of the adult population, it's difficult to get a precise number, for the following reason.

 

2) Many people who carry herpes never have a full blown outbreak, they may occasionally shed the virus/infect others, but they never have typical symptoms such as sores. This is why it's difficult to get an exact number of infected individuals, when so many are asymptomatic carriers.

 

3) There are 2 types of herpes, hsv 1 and hsv 2. They were once thought to be localized to different parts of the body, with hsv 1 infecting the mouth/face region, and hsv 2 infecting the genitals. We no know the 2 are very similar, and hsv 1 can present on any part of the body with mucous membranes, including the genitals.

 

4) Condoms are minimally effective. The virus is transferred via skin to skin contact of mucous membranes, not fluids, so condoms only protect what they cover. Hsv can often present in areas that condoms have no effect on, such as inner thighs.

 

So there you have it, odds are you have herpes and don't even know it, even as you pass it on. Hsv 2 is significantly less common, at about 20% of the adult population, but as the 2 are so similar I personally don't think it makes much sense to be alarmed about Hsv 2 while accepting Hsv 1 as minor.

 

I'm sure most of the wonderful providers here already know this information, but I figure it doesn't hurt to put it out there, particularly for new hobbyists.

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I'm curious what the general knowledge is on Herpes/Hsv around here, as I've been with a provider in the past who was unaware of the prevalence of it and the ease of infection, which was quite surprising.

 

There seems to be a lot of stigma surrounding hsv particularly directed at the unlucky individuals that actually show symptoms of genital herpes (sores).

People seem to think that as long as they don't show symptoms they are "clean".

 

Some facts:

1) Herpes (type 1) is present in upwards of 80% of the adult population, it's difficult to get a precise number, for the following reason.

 

2) Many people who carry herpes never have a full blown outbreak, they may occasionally shed the virus/infect others, but they never have typical symptoms such as sores. This is why it's difficult to get an exact number of infected individuals, when so many are asymptomatic carriers.

 

3) There are 2 types of herpes, hsv 1 and hsv 2. They were once thought to be localized to different parts of the body, with hsv 1 infecting the mouth/face region, and hsv 2 infecting the genitals. We no know the 2 are very similar, and hsv 1 can present on any part of the body with mucous membranes, including the genitals.

 

4) Condoms are minimally effective. The virus is transferred via skin to skin contact of mucous membranes, not fluids, so condoms only protect what they cover. Hsv can often present in areas that condoms have no effect on, such as inner thighs.

 

So there you have it, odds are you have herpes and don't even know it, even as you pass it on. Hsv 2 is significantly less common, at about 20% of the adult population, but as the 2 are so similar I personally don't think it makes much sense to be alarmed about Hsv 2 while accepting Hsv 1 as minor.

 

I'm sure most of the wonderful providers here already know this information, but I figure it doesn't hurt to put it out there, particularly for new hobbyists.

another thing to consider too is that, I believe there is something like over 100 strains of HPV and scarily only a handful cause visible warts. The rest if basically invisible... And the rate of infection is super high... AND puts ladies at risk for cervical cancer... makes me want to run out and get the HPV vaccine. I'm not nuts about vaccines but I may make an exception in this case...

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another thing to consider too is that, I believe there is something like over 100 strains of HPV and scarily only a handful cause visible warts. The rest if basically invisible... And the rate of infection is super high... AND puts ladies at risk for cervical cancer... makes me want to run out and get the HPV vaccine. I'm not nuts about vaccines but I may make an exception in this case...

 

You probably already have it, but if a multi hundred $ vaccine makes you feel better then it's your choice. I do regret not getting the vaccine before I started, but I don't really see the point now, and most women are either vaccinated or already have hpv as well these days. Women were given the vaccine long before men for whatever reason, even though it's just as likely to cause penile cancer and throat cancer in men.

 

Edit: Whoops, didn't realize you are a provider, yeah it's good to have in that situation, but it's kind of a time sensitive thing, and even the dangerous strands apparently clear the body a lot of the time without any problems. At this point regular screening will probably provide a lot more peace of mind than a vaccine, unless the vaccine somehow prevents infecting others even if you already have hpv.

 

The good news is the next generation will hopefully have less cancer to worry about, well at least the women will. Hopefully they have already smartened up and realized that men have just as much right to be cancer free as well, but when I was in highschool the vaccine was provided free for girls and wasn't available for guys.

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I'm newly into this, though have been involved in the past. I think I will go for the vaccine, in any case. In the "real world," my professional background is in healthcare and I'm acutely (pun intended) aware of the potential consequences. No significant harm in getting the vaccine, unless you're allergic to aluminium or something lol

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I'm newly into this, though have been involved in the past. I think I will go for the vaccine, in any case. In the "real world," my professional background is in healthcare and I'm acutely (pun intended) aware of the potential consequences. No significant harm in getting the vaccine, unless you're allergic to aluminium or something lol

 

Fair enough. I do wish I had cared more about my health before having sex for the first time a year ago. I've had ~15 different partners since then though and I doubt it'd be overly effective at this point. Worth a try I suppose on the off chance I don't already have a dangerous strain, I'm not letting my guard down though in regards to screening.

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I think it's reasonable for you to still get the vaccine. Worst case scenario it is ineffective, best is it is effective and the odds will still be in your favor - particularly given that there are literally 100 strains. Routine screening is definitely a good idea.

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Hi! Been with Lyla for a year and a half but am mostly a lurker. Anyhow, I thought I would pipe up here and lend my experience and knowledge - happy to answer questions! In addition to being a provider, i'm also a Registered Nurse and have worked in Family Medicine and sexual health for years. There are a number of misconceptions about HSV.

HSV has 2 different 'strains' basically - Type I and Type II. HSV also has 2 different sites that it can affect - the oral area and ant-genital area. *Either* type can affect either region. That said, *most* cases of oral HSV are Type I strains and about 60% of genital cases are Type II (meaning 40% are Type I). Generally speaking, break-outs associated with Type I HSV tend to be shorter and less severe (fewer lesions, less pain, etc...).

Prevalence rates for HSV are about 75% orally and 25% ano-genitally (for Type I and Type II) meaning MOST of US have HSV. If you've EVER had a cold sore you have HSV.

There is no way to absolutely prevent HSV however some general ways to reduce the risk of transmission. You can abstain from kissing (and oral sex) if you have cold sores or if you feel them coming on (as transmission risk is greatest right before it becomes visible)! If you have recurrent outbreaks you can take anti-viral medications such as acyclovir on a daily basis to reduce the "asymptomatic shedding" that occurs. Generally speaking the more outbreaks you have the more asymptomatic shedding there is. So reducing the outbreaks not only increases your comfort but also reduces the risk of transmission.

There is no way to definitely TEST for HSV either. The only test readily available under OHIP/Public Health system is to swab a lesion and send the swab off for testing. The challenge of this is that testing can only be done when symptoms are active.

HSV is a lifelong condition - it never leaves your system however it can be very well managed and a non-issue in most cases.

The issue that often arises for patients (and lovers) with HSV is when to disclose (or to disclose at all to partners). For those of us who have had cold sores (I haven't, thankfully and I let partners know this so that if they feel symptoms coming on then they can refrain from kissing me or from any oral to genital contact (as ORAL - i.e. Type I - can be spread to the ant-genital area - i.e. Type I in the ano-gential area if one were to contract HSV thru oral sex).

Anyhow - putting this out there if folks have questions! Happy to answer as I don't want to overload y'all!

 

Additional Comments:

As a nurse and provider, I STRONGLY encourage all fellow providers to get the HPV vaccine if they haven't already. There is a newer nonavalent (i.e. 9-strain) vaccine (Gardasil-9) that is available and covers the 7 most common strains of HPV that cause cervical and other HPV-related cancers (including penile cancer, anal cancer, throat cancer, etc...) and the 2 most common types that cause warts! It takes 3 shots over 6 months and you're basically immune to HPV! Because condoms do VERY LITTLE to protect us from HPV, if we have frequent partners, we're at risk for acquiring HPV. Over 95% (likely more) of people have had at least one strain of HPV at some point in our lives. Basically if you have sex with people who have sex you're going to get HPV.

So I suggest to women working especially to get the HPV vaccine. It's a health expense and can even be a business expense as well (not sure if it can be both - hunch is no but talk to your accountant)!

Guys too can get the HPV vaccine so I would definitely encourage y'all to get it too to protect yourself and all your lovers.

Because none of us ever get tested for HPV (exception if we have an abnormal Pap test and we are over 30 then sometimes the cells are "typed" for the specific strain of HPV. But generally speaking, an abnormal Pap test is a "positive" test for HPV as almost universally this is the cause of cell changes on our cervixes.

 

Anyhow, be happy to discuss further and answer questions!

 

Your nurse/provider Rebecca Winter

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HSV transmission is not limited to mucous membranes. Prior to gloves being a standard in medical care, herpes on the hands (herpes whitlow) was not uncommon.

 

Re HSV testing, it will vary from province to province. Manitoba does have a herpes blood test, however they will not serotype except in very specific circumstances, rendering the value of asymptomatic testing pretty much nil. Even where serotyped blood tests are available, there isn't evidence to suggest that asymptomatic testing results in changed behaviour or better outcomes, so it's not recommended as part of standard STI testing.

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Im always amazed by how many people engage in DFK with high risk partners which is pretty much everyone on here. There is no STD that your genitals can get that your mouth can't. The opposite is in fact the case if you include mononucleosis - the kissing disease - which is extremely contagious and highly debilitating. I just don't get it.

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I am also a health professional, and I can recommend 3 things to reduce your risk:

1:  HPV vaccine. It is very effective (even if you carry the virus already). The best STI protection to come along in years. If you are an SP or client (or just have sex period) then you need this. 

2: wash your fun parts immediately afterwards with warm soapy water. This is the BEST prevention going. Bacteria and virus left on skin for hours will find a foothold and get into your system. Soap is key! They make all those bugs slippery and more easily washed off.  Cost = $0

3: Pee afterwards.  Same principle. Bugs love urethras — a super easy entry to your body. High volume and pressure urine decreases their numbers exponentially. Again, $free.

Can’t say these are 100% fail safe but they are simple measures that are far better than the alternative. 

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I questioned my doctor about that shedding thing (for herpes) and she said that it is so rare it practically non-existent.

When a person shows up to me with something, anything on their lip, then those will not be in contact with me at all. That has lead to offense being taken (it's just a cut). Even if it's a cut that is not something that should be making contact with me either.

Of course things have to be checked by girl too. And if you have met someone who was unaware of facts about (any) STI, that is a very scary scenario. But if you encounter that ignorance then by all means use that opportunity to EDUCATE! If not sure, guide them to Google, give them names of STI's to look up. #themoreyouknow

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I read somewhere that saliva has the herpes virus in it and many men sometimes like to use their saliva as lubrication on women.

 

Can someone confirm this ? Not fond of men attempting to do this and stopping them in the process. I have no problem in providing my own lubrication when needed.

 

Also if I see something on someone’s mouth like an existing cold sore or on another body part, it’s a no go and will avoid certain things. However if someone has herpes, it’s always there. Reading about STDs over the years, I always do a visual inspection that is not obvious to the client. Better safe than sorry! However nothing is 100%.

Edited by Nicolette Vaughn
Typo
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These are few of the scientifically proven facts about Herpes and HSV which the common people aren't aware of:

 

1. Genital herpes is quite common in the USA with almost 776,000 cases of herpes infections reported every year.

2. Almost 80% of people with genital herpes are unaware of their condition since the symptoms are mostly mild to negligible.

3. HSV can also cause "pink eye" or conjunctivitis

4. The Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) belongs to a family of virus knows as the herpesvirus family. Another virus under this category includes EBV (Epstein Barr virus responsible for Mono) and varicella-zoster virus (causing chicken pox and shingles).

In essence, HSV is omnipresent - millions of cases of HSV infection are reported every year worldwide. One must practice complete hygiene - be it in the kitchen, bathroom, or the bedroom.

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