The body often fights off the herpes virus. This often causes the virus to remain undetected. It’s not uncommon for a female to be diagnosed with herpes today and to receive negative herpes test results in the future. Herpes blood test results could change within days, weeks, months or years after coming in contact with the virus. If the virus is not active the herpes antibodies may not be detected by a swab test or a blood test. It’s important to schedule a doctor’s appointment if you feel herpes sores are currently present. Herpes is most effectively diagnosed when a physician sees active herpes sores. The herpes simplex virus hides in the central nervous system and the virus could come out of a remission state at any given time. Factors such as stress, smoking, eating unhealthy, and living unhealthy could contribute to herpes outbreaks. Even the healthiest females develop herpes outbreaks.
How HSV-1 and HSV-2 affects females
Herpes is the most common STI in the world. It’s proven about 80% of sexually active adults carry the HSV-1 antibodies. Which means 80% of the adult population is able to spread HSV-1 to a partner. HSV-1 is very common since the infection is commonly spread from kissing. There isn’t a way to safeguard the virus from entering the body if kissing takes place over a course of time. When kissing occurs it places a partner at high risk to come in direct skin-to-skin contact with the virus orally. Men and females are at equal risk to catch oral HSV-1. The symptoms of HSV-1 are usually mild. Even a simple blister on the lips or inside the mouth is typically a mild symptom of herpes. Most people who are carries for the virus show mild signs of the virus. A female is more likely than a male to catch genital HSV-1 seem the virus is more commonly spread to females.
Among individuals who live in the United States about 15.5% individuals under age 50 carry the HSV-2 antibodies. It’s clinically proven by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that females under age 50 age nearly twice as likely as males to catch genital HSV-2. It’s estimated that over 87% of individuals who are carriers for HSV-2 aren’t aware they can spread the virus to others. The majority of the 87% of these individuals are females. These numbers are so high because both sexes aren’t aware they are carries for the virus, because the virus goes undetected. Herpes sores may not be noticed if the sores are inside the vulva.
According to research it’s not fully clear why HSV-2 is so much more common for females compared to males. One of the reasons HSV-2 is more commonly spread to females is because a female has more genital area exposed than a male. A condom may not cover the base of the penis. When sexual intercourse happens the base of the penis could come in contact with the clitoris, vulva, buttock or the anus. Therefore, a male is more likely to infect a female with herpes rather than a female infecting a male with the virus. Females have more genital area exposed than males.
Females with herpes and pregnancy
If a female with herpes is pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant it’s important to inform your doctor. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention there is over a 99.9% chance a female with genital herpes will have a healthy infant with proper medical care. In very rare cases herpes affects infants brains and cause nerve damage. Herpes could be fatal to an infant. It’s very important that a female with herpes takes extra precautions by keeping all her prenatal appointments.
If a female develops herpes outbreaks during the trimester of her pregnancy a doctor is likely to request that a cesarean section is done. If herpes outbreaks are present during the six to nine month period of a pregnancy an infant is at higher risk to catching herpes at birth from coming out of the vaginal canal. If a doctor knows a mother has genital herpes the amount of medical appointments may increase during the six to nine month frame of a pregnancy. A female should ask a doctor ways she can reduce the risk of getting herpes outbreaks, proper dieting, and if medication could be taken.
The reasons why having herpes can put females at risk for catching HIV
HIV could travel more easily through herpes sores. Herpes sores create an opening in the skin. Which means the immune system tries to heal the opening in the skin. Therefore HIV is much more likely to be drawn to that opening in the skin. In a situation like this semen is likely to come in contact with an opening in the skin caused by herpes. If a female is involved with someone who has HIV a doctor is likely to place her on PrEP treatment to reduce her risk of catching HIV. If genital herpes outbreaks occur often Valtrex or Acyclovir is likely to be prescribed. Genital herpes increases the risk of a female catching HIV by at least three fold. It’s important to take extra safe sex precautions if you have herpes. If a male partner has HIV encourage him to always follow up with HIV treatments. The chance of catching HIV could be low with medical treatment.
What should a female with herpes expect?
The anatomy of a female is very different than a male. It’s proven that the release of stress hormones and other chemicals within the body could contribute to herpes outbreaks. It’s not uncommon for a female to experience high levels of stress during a menstruation cycle. Therefore, there is a strong correlation with genital herpes outbreak increases when a female has her period. The most intense herpes outbreaks may also occur within the first year a female is diagnosed with the virus. Herpes outbreaks are most likely to occur when the virus is at its strongest. Once the body weakens the virus, herpes could go into a state of remission and the virus could remain asymptomatic for any time frame. Factors such as studying for finals during college, a break up with a boyfriend, getting a new job, and getting an eviction notice could cause stress. Therefore, herpes outbreaks could occur. Stress is one of the main reasons why herpes outbreaks occur. Managing your feelings may help reduce outbreaks. Outbreaks often happen completely by chance.
How to manage herpes
In many cases there isn’t going to be a way to completely eliminate herpes outbreaks. Avoiding too much junk food, exercising, not smoking, and strengthening the immune system could put you at a lower risk to develop genital herpes outbreaks. A balanced diet and avoiding high levels stress will help you manage herpes. Wearing loose clothing and taking a warm bath may help manage any discomfort caused by active herpes sores. If frequent or heavy herpes outbreaks occur discuss the option of taking medication with your doctor. Some doctors may encourage you to take Valtrex, Acyclovir or ibuprofen. Even if you live healthy, you are likely to experience some symptoms of the herpes virus. Living healthy will reduce the chance of getting outbreaks.