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I Think I May Have Contracted HSV

Published: February 01, 2017
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I think I may have contracted hsv during sex but am unaware if it is one or two or if it matters. The first signs were somewhat immediate in a few days I had a cold sore on my lip and noticed my partner did as well. A few days after that I had shaved my pubic hairs and a few ingrown hair like bumps appeared which dissapeared a few days later and I paid it no mind. In that time I had sex with two other partners neither of them have reported any symptoms or relatable occurrences as of yet. A few months has passed since my initial suspicions and I recently shaved again this time with a new more harsh razor and more bumps appeared they are irritable and itchy occasionally but I don't know if it's tied to shaving. My initial partner also never had any bumps in her genital area and has been tested. I plan to get tested tomorrow but just want to see if I can get any light on my situation
Signed: I Think I May Have Contracted HSV

Dear I Think I May Have Contracted HSV,

Herpes is a very common sexually transmitted disease with 1 in 6 people in the U.S. carrying the virus. If you have any reason to believe you may have herpes (or any other STD) it is important to meet with a doctor so you can be properly diagnosed, learn about treatment options and learn how to prevent spreading the disease any further. That said, TeenHealthFX is pleased that you will be meeting with your doctor as he/she will be able to answer any and all questions that you may have about herpes.

Here are a few things to know based on what you wrote to us:

  • It is possible to be carrying the herpes virus and not be symptomatic.
  • It is possible to mistake things like pimples and ingrown hairs (which often occur from shaving) with herpes symptoms.
  • Don't have sex with anyone during a herpes outbreak, because that's when it spreads the most easily. But herpes is usually passed when there are no sores or symptoms, so it's important to use condoms and dental dams, even if everything looks and feels ok.

 

TeenHealthFX would also like to encourage you to practice safer sex, if you are not. Doctors generally recommend that teens and young adults use condoms to prevent unwanted pregnancies and the transmission of STDs, as well as a back-up method of birth control such as the pill or birth control shot for additional prevention of unwanted pregnancies. FX would also invite you to think about, or talk to someone about, the number of sexual partners that you have had. The more sexual partners you have, the more you put yourself at risk to transmit STDs. But often when teens or young adults have multiple sexual partners in short periods of time it can be indicative of some kind of issue being present, whether the issue is an emotional one, connected to substance use or related to difficulties with healthy, close relationships. FX wants to make sure you are taking care of your body and your emotional well-being!

 

The difference between HSV-1 and HSV-2:

According to Planned Parenthood:

Herpes is caused by two different but similar viruses: herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Both kinds can make sores pop up on and around your vulva, vagina, cervix, anus, penis, scrotum, butt, inner thighs, lips, mouth, throat, and rarely, your eyes.

Because there are 2 different kinds of herpes simplex viruses (HSV-1 and HSV-2) that can live on many body parts, lots of people are confused about what to call these infections. But it's actually pretty simple:

  • When you get either HSV-1 or HSV-2 on or around your genitals (vulva, vagina, cervix, anus, penis, scrotum, butt, inner thighs), it's called genital herpes.
  • When you get either HSV-1 or HSV-2 in or around your lips, mouth, and throat, it's called oral herpes. Oral herpes sores are sometimes called cold sores or fever blisters.

 

HSV-1 usually causes oral herpes, and HSV-2 usually causes genital herpes — each strain prefers to live on its favorite area. But it's totally possible for both types of herpes simplex to infect either area. For example, you can get HSV-1 on your genitals if someone with a cold sore on their lips gives you oral sex. And you can get HSV-2 in your mouth if you give oral sex to someone with HSV-2 on their genitals.

 

Herpes symptoms:

Some people may have herpes, yet not have any symptoms they can see or feel.

Genital herpes symptoms:

  • Itchy or painful blisters on the vagina, vulva, cervix, penis, butt, anus or inside of the thighs
  • Burning when you pee or if urine touches the herpes sores
  • Having trouble urinating
  • Pain in the genital area

 

Genital herpes caused by HSV-2 might include symptoms such as:

  • Swollen glands in pelvic area, throat and under your arms
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Feeling achy and tired

 

Oral herpes symptoms:

  • Sores on the lips or around the mouth (and sometimes in the mouth) that last a few weeks and then go away on their own. Weeks, months or years can go by between these outbreaks.

 

Some additional herpes symptoms facts:

  • Sometimes herpes symptoms can be confused with other things like pimples, ingrown hairs and the flu.
  • While herpes symptoms may come and go, the virus stays in your body for life.

 

There is no cure for herpes. Once you have the virus, it stays in your body for life. So it is important to learn how to prevent the transmission of herpes, how to treat herpes symptoms, and how to live with herpes.

 

If you are concerned you may have an STD and don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist or contact your local teen health center or Planned Parenthood. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.

 

 

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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