In the United States, about 16.2% of people aged 14 to 49 have genital herpes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That percentage has remained stable over the past decade. If you are diagnosed, you are far from alone.
Herpes won’t stop you from having long-term relationships or having children, and as long as you are honest with potential partners and with your health care providers, you can have as full and enjoyable a life as anyone else.
If you are diagnosed with genital herpes, you probably feel a storm of emotions, and that is normal. However, the more you know about the condition, the more you can do to ensure that its effect on your life is kept to a minimum. Here’s what to do next after being diagnosed with genital herpes.
Step 1: Take a Deep Breath
Generally, your first herpes outbreak is the worst. You may experience headache, fever, muscle pain, and enlarged lymph nodes in the groin, in addition to the small blisters that occur in the genital region. Recurrences tend to become less frequent over time, but it is still possible to transmit the virus in the absence of a visible outbreak. Using condoms lowers the probability of transmitting the infection to your partner.
You should know that there are two basic varieties of herpes virus, HSV-1 and HSV-2. Either type can cause genital infections. Approximately one-third of people diagnosed with herpes never have a recurrence. Another one-third will experience three or fewer outbreaks per year. Only one-third of people infected with herpes will go on to have more than three outbreaks in a year.
Step 2: Take All Medications As Directed
Many people diagnosed with herpes are prescribed a drug called Valtrex, which can shorten the duration of an outbreak. This drug may be taken on an as-needed based, or in people who have frequent outbreaks, it may be prescribed as a daily medication to help suppress outbreaks and lessen their severity. If you are prescribed Valtrex, take it exactly as directed for as long as directed. This is the key to keeping symptoms under control and making outbreaks as short and minor as possible.
Step 3: Educate Yourself
There are plenty of online resources available for learning about herpes, and you should take advantage of them. This will help you understand what is happening, and reassure you that millions of other people go through the same thing you’re experiencing. It is important to know that people with herpes are at an increased risk of acquiring HIV, and are also at increased risk of transmitting HIV. The more you know about herpes, the better you can cope with outbreaks, and the better you can protect partners from infection.
Step 4: Commit to Being Honest With Current and Future Partners
Honesty with sexual partners is absolutely essential if you have been diagnosed with herpes, even if you rarely have outbreaks. It is possible to transmit herpes even if you don’t show visible signs of an outbreak. Condoms can reduce, but not eliminate, the chance of transmitting the infection. After having one or more recurrences of herpes outbreaks, you may notice that you experience certain signs and symptoms before the actual outbreak, such as tingling and itching. When you experience these prodromal symptoms, the virus is active and the possibility of transmitting the infection is high.
Step 5: Consider Joining an Online Support Group
Coping with a diagnosis of herpes can be psychologically difficult, but there is no need to socially isolate yourself. There are plenty of online support groups where you can openly discuss your fears, experiences, and concerns. There are even dating sites for people who have been diagnosed with herpes. Learning about the disease and how to manage it will help you regain confidence over time, and help you live a full and satisfying life.
At eDrugstore.com, we sell medications like Valtrex that improve the quality of life for those with herpes. We are also committed to the highest standards of privacy, online security, and customer service.
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