Herpes is another common STD. Like HPV, most people who become infected with herpes do not show any symptoms, yet they can still pass the virus to partners.
What is herpes?
Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is normally spread through kissing or oral sex, and results in cold sores or fever blisters on or around the mouth. HSV-1 is often referred to as “oral herpes.”
Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) is normally spread through vaginal, anal, or oral sex, and results in sores or blisters on or around the penis, scrotum, anus, or vagina. HSV-2 is often referred to as “genital herpes.”
How is it spread?
You can get either type of herpes through contact with a sore or an area where a sore is developing. It’s also possible to get the virus from a partner who doesn’t show signs of infection.
In addition to bodily contact, there are a few other ways to get the herpes virus. HSV-1 can be passed through saliva while HSV-2 may be transmitted through genital secretions like vaginal fluids and semen. You can also get genital herpes if you have oral sex with a partner who has oral herpes.
There are many myths about how herpes is spread, so let’s dispel a few. You cannot get herpes from toilet seats, bedding, or swimming pools, nor can you get herpes from sharing things like silverware, soap, or towels.
How do I get tested?
Your doctor will examine you and may take a sample from a sore to determine if you have the virus. Your doctor may also order a blood test, yet this type of test is not a good indicator of an outbreak.
Is there a cure?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for herpes. But there are medications your doctor can prescribe to prevent or shorten outbreaks. If you are have herpes, talk to your doctor about treatment, especially if you have a suppressed immune system.