Spreading Herpes Unintentionally

New research has been pointing fingers at the female population. It seems that the research suggests that female youngsters may be the ones promoting the spread of the herpes virus. Kenneth Fife of Indiana University School of Medicine states that there is a chunk of the female population that has never been tested for herpes, has not shown a single sign of having herpes, but is still shedding the virus every now and then.

Kenneth Fife

Kenneth Fife

Supposedly, at least one out of five youngsters and adults has herpes. Often, it is genital herpes that is caused by herpes simplex virus 2. Kenneth and his team members studied exactly 127 women, all of whom were 14 to 18 years old. After 4-6 years of observation, it was found that only 3 women had been diagnosed with type 2 herpes. The rest of the women never went in for a test, and yet, about two thirds of the 127 were shedding the virus. Even more surprisingly, a group of these women who had been tested negative at first, were tested positive the second time round.

Kenneth expressed his worry, since most of these women never showed signs of genital herpes. Even though some women may have had the likes of vaginal discharges, they were not out of the ordinary; other factors could cause such discharges to take place.

There was another study carried out where patients who have had genital herpes for over a decade, still showing virus shedding for 14% of the year.

The studies shed light on the fact that hormonal contraception such as the pill could lower the defences of a woman’s body, making her susceptible to genital herpes. A group of researchers from Albert Einstein School of Medicine studied some women aged from 18 to 25. They were all generally healthy, showing antimicrobial properties in their vaginal fluid. However, some women who were on contraception showed lesser antimicrobial properties in comparison. The researchers did say however, that this study was small, which is why a larger research needs to be carried out to confirm their findings.

Herpes: The Silent Assailant

If you are about to have sexual intercourse with a person, there is at least a 10% chance of you contracting herpes from them. Quite a high possibility, is it not? We thought so too!

This percentage mentioned was discovered from a study where swabs were taken from the genitals of about 500 individuals infected with the herpes simplex virus. What is shocking is that over 15% of this population assumed that they were clean, until they went through this blood test for herpes.

Not known to many people, at least 16% of the American population has the herpes simplex type 2 virus. Sadly, from 75-90% of this group of people do not even know that they have the virus, merely since they did not see symptoms or just because they did not think much of it. These unsuspecting carriers were found to have been shedding virus on at least 3 days out of the whole month, without even having an inkling about it.

A researcher from the University of Washington called Anna Wald mentioned that the biggest concern about these unwary carriers was that they make sexual intercourse with other individuals risky. Anna and her colleagues unearthed a few facts from their study:

  • Even if they have genital skin that has no sores and blisters, infected men could still shed the virus.
  • Individuals with herpes that do not show symptoms shed the virus as much as those who show symptoms.
  • Women shed virus as often as men.
  • Although there is no proof that this is absolutely correct, it seems as if white people shed virus more often that non-white people
  • Individuals with herpes that do not show symptoms shed virus only about half as often as those who show signs and symptoms.
  • It is almost impossible to calculate how much of the herpes virus is required to bring about an outbreak.
  • If a person has both herpes simplex virus 1 and 2, having virus 1 does not determine how often the person will shed type 2 virus.
  • The key is to keep check of the number of times the patient sheds the herpes virus in 12 months. If it is less than 8 times, they are shedding virus 19% of the entire year. If it is more than 8 times, these individuals are shedding virus 31% of the entire year.

Since herpes is a disease that is quite tough to detect in some people’s situation, it is best to go in for a check-up and get a herpes blood test done. And if you have not got around to do that, but have been feeling as if you may be infected, you could opt for one of the following options to stay safe:

  • Daily intake of valacyclovir, which is a drug for herpes.
  • Having a discussion about having herpes with your partner(s).
  • Making sure to use condoms whenever you get involved in some sexual act.

Reducing the Herpes Risk in Relationships: How Not To Spread and How Not To Get

Herpes is no small disease, effortless to get rid of, just like the flu. If you, your partner or someone close to you has acquired it, it is best to take precautions as herpes could be easily transmitted, especially through the act of having sexual intercourse. Therefore, we have arranged a list of the methods that could be used to limit the chances of contracting or transmitting herpes:

Manage Things with Your Partner

Now, not everyone is in a committed relationship, which is comprehensible. For all those men and women who are in the dating and partying scene need to remember to be careful. Some guidelines to live by would be:

  • Even if you are about to have a one night stand, ask them if they have any kind of sexually transmitted disease
  • Try to limit the number of sexual partners you have
  • If you are about to have sexual intercourse with a person, get to know them; ask them about the number of people they have had sexual intercourse with
  • If they have sores around their mouth or genitals, do not indulge in oral, vaginal or anal sex with them
  • Never have sexual intercourse with someone while under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Even those individuals who are in a committed relationship must be cautious, be it monogamous or polygamous. Now, we understand that having the talk with them about whether or not they have any STDs could be embarrassing for some of us. However, it is absolutely necessary, especially if you do not wish to spend the rest of your life regretting NOT asking the question. Here are some things you could try:

  • Make a pact to get the both of you checked for herpes
  • Ask them if they have had sexual intercourse with many people in the past
  • Ask them if they have ever had any form of STD in the past

One of the most important things to remember is to let your partner know about the matter, if you have herpes. They have the right to know and think about what they are about to get into.

Educating the Patients

A lot of people forget that herpes, although not deadly, could be quite scary. Also, there is a large portion of the general public that has never even heard of herpes. If you know anything at all about herpes, you should discuss it with those around you. Spread the message, as it may help just about anyone! Also, if you think you or someone close to you has it, speak to an expert about it and gather as much of information as you can.


CondomSince there is no direct, skin-to-skin contact possible, latex condoms also prevent the transfer of the herpes virus. Admittedly, people were not subjected to experiments to understand the exact way that condoms help with keeping herpes at bay. However, countless questionnaires and polls that were taken over the course of the last decade or two showed that condoms definitely helped the matter; if a man has the herpes 2 virus, wearing a condom will assure a lower risk of him transmitting it to their partner, assuming they are both monogamous.


If someone has herpes, they have outbreaks every now and then. This is a period when the patient has sores and blisters around their mouth or their genitals, based on the type of herpes virus their body contains. Not only are they risking their partner by having sexual intercourse during such a time, they are also making the sex painful, thanks to their lesions and blisters. Therefore, the best idea during this time is to keep away from having sex.

Suppressive Therapy

A lot of brands and companies of dietary supplements or herbal preparations cite that they help eliminate the risks and problems of herpes completely. As a matter of fact, some swear that they completely rid the patient of the disease. However, these claims are baseless and are definitely not true. But there happens to be a method that could decrease the amount of viral discarding: herpes medications that need to be ingested every single day. Some of these medications are valacyclovir and acyclovir, the first offering up to 40-50% of risks of outbreaks. It seems that the daily intake of these medications help reduce the number of outbreaks, especially if you have been making use of them for a while now.

Lead a Relaxed Life

Taking a load of stress due to having acquired herpes could just make the matter worse. According to experts, being all uptight, upset and stressed out about herpes seems to correlate to the rate at which the patient has outbreaks. Therefore, do not forget to learn to love yourself and your body. Additionally, remember to keep smiling through it all!