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Why get tested for hsv?

Mar 15, 2008 - 1 comments

So why is it important to know if you have genital herpes or not? Well many reasons. First off - you can't protect your partner from genital herpes if you don't know that you have it.  Studies have found time and time again that the vast majority of folks who have hsv2 have no idea they have it until they are tested.  Everyone assumes that if you had hsv2 genitally that you'd have very obvious and painful blisters that you couldn't miss. the reality is - most folks have rather mild/vague symptoms that can be overlooked or attributed to other causes. It's not that everyone is walking around without symptoms who has hsv2 - it's that they aren't realizing that the symptoms they are having could be due to herpes.  Who hasn't had a really "good" weekend with a partner and been a little red and sore for a few days afterwards?  Who hasn't had an itchy butt?  Who hasn't had a red area in the genital area that was there for a few days and then gone - was it the underwear you wore, the soap you used at a hotel, sweating too much? Sometimes it's hard to tell. Not knowing that you have herpes means that you aren't likely to question what is going on.  Assume it's just a soap reaction and have sex with your partner - well if it was an active herpes recurrence then chances are higher that you potentially infected your partner :(    Not knowing your hsv status when you deliver your baby means that you can't take steps to protect your baby during delivery either. Neonatal herpes is a health risk to the baby.  

What's the real health risk ( because yes it ***** if you infect your partner but for the vast majority of folks who contract hsv2 - it's not going to be a health risk - just an annoyance in your life ) - hiv.  Studies have found that folks who have hsv2 are more likely to contract hiv from a partner.  Not an issue of course if you and your partner have been tested and know that neither of you have hiv but for many of us - we aren't in long term monogamous relationships where we know each other's hiv status.  If your partner has hiv and you have hsv2 - ignore that what you think is just a reaction to hotel soap and have sex and you've just increased your chances of contracting hiv from your partner dramatically!  Even when you don't have an active herpes lesion present your risk is still higher.  Have hsv2 and hiv - if you don't take suppressive therapy to keep your hsv2 down to a dull roar - chances are good that your hiv is going to be more of an issue too.  

So what can you do?  when you get tested for std's - ask specifically what you are getting tested for. If you don't hear them say type specific herpes igg blood testing - ask if you can get it. If they say they don't offer it - ask why not! Then ask where you can go to get it done.  Don't just assume that since you haven't noticed symptoms that that means that you don't have it.  Get tested periodically to know your status.  If we aren't insisting on a higher standard of care from our practioners - we aren't likely to get it :(  


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by gracefromHHP, Oct 04, 2011

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