- Many people have at least one of the Herpes Simplex Virus strains (HSV 1 or 2) and don’t even know it. The World Health Organization recently published a study that indicated about two-thirds of the world’s population has HSV 1. Many were infected with it in childhood, by being kissed by a parent who carried the virus or sharing eating/drinking utensils with someone who carried the virus. Many have been infected with HSV 2 by someone who didn’t even know they had it. If you have had multiple partners, this makes it difficult to know from whom you might have been infected.
- The herpes virus can be passed on even when the person carrying the virus is not having symptoms of any kind. This is called asymptomatic shedding of the virus. Using a condom during sexual activity may reduce your risk of being infected, but not eliminate it. Herpes is spread by skin-to-skin contact. If the virus is present on the surface of the skin that is not covered by a condom, then that condom is offering insufficient protection.
- Herpes is not routinely tested for during a visit to the STI clinic. Because of its complexity, HSV testing can cause unnecessary anxiety. Even the most reliable tests can produce false positives and false negatives. Therefore, routine testing is discouraged. It is common to hear a patient say, “I know I didn’t have herpes at my last check-up, because my doctor tested for everything and said all the tests were negative”. In actuality, herpes was not tested. At Clarity Testing Clinic, you will receive a test result sheet that lists what you have and have not been tested for, with the results.
- If you have a history of cold sores or fever blisters, they are most likely caused by HSV 1. During oro-genital contact you can infect your partner in the genital area with the HSV 1 virus; especially if a mouth sore is present. The virus may produce an outbreak in the genital area that looks identical to HSV 2, and is considered genital herpes. In fact, research indicates that half of all new genital herpes infections are with HSV 1.
- Being infected with the herpes virus in no way changes your value and worth as a human being. Yes, it will present challenges and concerns for future relationships, but it does not make you any less worthy of love. It may motivate you to re-evaluate behaviors that are putting you at risk of other STIs and hopefully lead you to healthier lifestyle choices that eliminate the risk of infections. Keep in mind, you are worth protecting.
Clarity Testing Clinic offers confidential sexual health medical services for men and women. The clinic provides testing and treatment for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) Pap smears, pregnancy tests and limited obstetrical ultrasound.
If you think you have been exposed to an STI, make an appointment today at Clarity Testing Clinic to be tested. Our friendly medical professionals are here to help.