Top 10 Myths About Genital Herpes
Published July 17th, 2020
Herpes is a highly misunderstood virus. Many people don’t take the time to learn about it because it scares them, but that actually causes more harm than good! It’s best to inform ourselves with accurate information and get rid of the stigma behind this virus.
In this article, we’ll be debunking the top 10 myths about genital herpes. So let’s begin.
If you have herpes, you’ll definitely see the signs and symptoms.
Hollywood’s depiction of herpes has skewed our understanding of this virus. When a movie character gets herpes, they’re shown to have outbreaks of lesions on their face or genital area. This depiction is problematic because about 70-80% of people don’t even show symptoms of ever having herpes. This might lead asymptomatic patients to become complacent, believing they don’t have the virus from the lack of symptoms.
You can only get herpes if you live a promiscuous lifestyle.
Your chances of dying in a car crash (1 in 103) are nothing compared to the possibilities of contracting genital herpes (1 in 8); it’s that common. One misconception about herpes is that you can only get it if you’re sleeping around. Since I’ve mentioned that many cases of herpes are asymptomatic, you could get it even in a monogamous relationship.
The virus is most contagious during outbreaks. However, between outbreaks, there’s this period of “silent shedding” wherein you can be infectious to people. Asymptomatic patients are capable of spreading the virus without even knowing it.
Herpes can be prevented entirely with condoms.
While condoms significantly reduce the risk of spreading and contracting herpes, they don’t eliminate it. Condoms may not cover the entire affected portion, so skin-to-skin contact with affected areas may still spread the virus.
All STI tests include herpes.
Not all STI tests look for herpes. Doctors tend not to include herpes in these tests, as studies have shown positive diagnoses do not affect the patient’s behavior towards sex. Instead, STI tests are more geared towards diagnosing curable STIs like chlamydia. Since genital herpes is not a significant threat to our health, the CDC recommends only getting tested when outbreaks occur.
You can get herpes from a toilet seat.
This myth is one of the more outrageous ones. Many people have fears about living with someone with genital herpes. The truth is that the herpes virus cannot live outside the human body. It can be contracted through mucous membranes such as the skin on your mouth, genitals, and anus.
You can cure herpes through medication, herbs, and other natural remedies.
Herpes is for life, and that’s the bottomline. It is an incurable infection that stays with you forever. But that doesn’t mean you have to dread it. Living with herpes is not impossible, as you can see by the millions or even billions that have it. You can help prevent or reduce the impact of outbreaks by eating right and medicating.
Herpes marks the end of your sex life.
Many people fear that when they contract herpes, they won’t be able to have sex anymore, but that’s false! You can have herpes and have a completely healthy sex life. Experts advise that you can have sex in between outbreaks as long as your partner understands the risks. Taking suppressive medication reduces the chance of you passing the virus on to your partner substantially.
Herpes patients cannot donate blood.
If you’re wondering whether you can donate blood if you were diagnosed with herpes, then yes, you can. With most viral infections, you can donate blood as long as you’re not actively showing symptoms. For herpes, it is perfectly safe as long as you’re sure the lesions on your body have completely healed.
People with herpes cannot have children.
Herpes patients can have perfectly healthy babies. One complication that can occur is when the herpes virus is passed through the birth canal. This is called neonatal herpes, which could potentially be fatal. However, this virus is extremely rare, affecting only 0.1% of babies each year. You can read more about herpes care during pregnancy here.
A canker sore is the same as a cold sore.
They are not the same. Canker sores are the incredibly annoying and painful patches inside your mouth. Cold sores are blisters that usually appear around the corners of your lips. They’re liquid-filled blisters that turn into pustules and ooze liquid for a few days before crusting over. The main difference between these two is location. Canker sores occur inside the mouth while cold sores occur outside. The primary cause of canker sores is unknown, while the herpes simplex virus mainly causes cold sores.
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About The Author
Terrence Tan Ting is an industrial engineer by profession but a full time writer by passion. He loves to write about a wide range of topics from many different industries thanks to his undying curiosity.