A few questions and answers about herpes

I am pregnant. How can genital herpes affect my child?

If you are pregnant and are a carrier of genital herpes, it is very important for you to attend prenatal examination groups. Tell your doctor if you have ever had symptoms of genital herpes or if you have been diagnosed with genital herpes. Also tell your doctor if you have had contact with a person who has genital herpes. There are several studies that show that genital herpes infection can lead to miscarriage or premature birth. A herpes infection can be transmitted from you to your unborn child before birth, but most often during childbirth. It can lead to a deadly infection in your child (so-called neonatal herpes). It is important that during pregnancy you avoid herpes infection. If you are pregnant and have genital herpes, you may be offered herpes medicine at the end of your pregnancy. This drug can reduce the risk of signs or symptoms of genital herpes during childbirth. At the time of childbirth, your doctor should carefully examine you for the presence of herpes ulcers. If at the time of delivery you have symptoms of herpes, you usually have a C-section.

How can I know that I am a carrier of genital herpes?

A few questions and answers about herpes

Most people suffering from genital herpes have no symptoms at all or have minor symptoms. You may not notice slight symptoms or may mistake them for another skin condition such as an acne or an ingrown hair. Therefore, most people who are carriers of herpes do not know about it. Foci of herpes usually occur in the form of one or more vesicles on the genitals, in the rectum or mouth, or around them. The bubbles burst and leave painful ulcers, which may take several weeks or more to heal. These symptoms are sometimes called “disease outbreaks”. When someone first has an outbreak, they may also have flu-like symptoms, such as fever, body pain or swelling of the tonsils. People who experience an initial herpes outbreak may experience repeated outbreaks, especially if they are infected with HSV-2. Recurring outbreaks are usually shorter and less severe than the first outbreak. Although the infection remains in your body throughout your life, the number of outbreaks may decrease over the following years. You should see a doctor if you notice any of these symptoms, or if your partner has an STD or symptoms of an STI. Symptoms of an STD may include an unusual ulcer, genital discharge with a bad smell, burning when urinating or bleeding between periods.

How will my doctor know that I am a carrier of herpes?

A few questions and answers about herpes

Your doctor can diagnose genital herpes just by looking at your symptoms. Doctors can also take a sample from the ulcer(s) and analyze it. In some cases, a blood test can be used to find antibodies to herpes. Talk honestly and openly with your doctor and ask if you need to be examined for herpes or other STIs.
Note. A blood test for herpes may help determine if you have a herpes infection. It will not show who infected you or how long you were infected.

Is it possible to cure herpes?

There is no cure for herpes. However, there are medicines that can prevent or reduce outbreaks. Some of these herpes medications can be taken daily, making it less likely that you will transmit the infection to your sexual partner(s).

What happens if I do not get treatment?

Genital herpes can lead to painful ulcers in the genital area, and in people with a weakened immune system it can be severe. If you touch the ulcers or fluid from the wound, you can transfer herpes to another part of your body such as your eyes. To prevent herpes from spreading to another part of your body, do not touch the ulcers or fluid. If you have touched an ulcer or liquid to avoid the infection spreading, wash your hands immediately and thoroughly. If you are pregnant, you and your future child may have problems.