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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » Herpes Questions

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Author Topic: Herpes Questions
TheFlash
Activist
Member # 33089

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I was wondering (for no reason besides curious) about herpes. I see there are two kinds of virus, I and II. It says I "usually infects the mouth" and II "usually infects the genitals".

I'm finding this a bit confusing. Are they different viruses, or if it's on your mouth, they just call it type I, and type II if on your genitals?

If they are different (I think so from reading between the lines), is it just more difficult to show up in the other's area (ex type II sore on the mouth)? Or is it just difficult to transmit type I with oral sex?

When I went in to be tested, I didn't get a herpes test because the doctor said it wasn't a very reliable test. I don't know if that means it can show positive when you don't have it, or show negative when you do?, she didn't explain and I forgot to ask. I've never had any symptoms, but that proves nothing from my understanding?

If you get type I, does it protect you from getting type II? This works for cowpox protecting from smallpox (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cowpox) so I was wondering if this is the same for herpes?

If you have type I herpes, do you have to do something special to protect others? Like, tell them you have it and take medications (valtrex), or is that only for people with type II? If so, how would you know if the test is not reliable?

If you have type I and perform oral sex on someone without type I or type II, I assume you can transmit type I to them. If so, would it show up on their gentials or is it just in their blood and travels to other places (like the mouth)? Or does the virus stay where the infection started?

Okay, that's enough. btw, I'd like to be a vet someday so I'm always curious about disease stuff (or maybe I'm just simply weird for wondering when I read stuff).

thx.

Posts: 98 | From: Seattle | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Light
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Member # 32327

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I want to know this too. I do know that like 80% of the population have herpes simplex 1, and it's really easy to spread. All catholics probably get it when they take wine at communion. However, I am not sure if you can give someone genital herpes through oral sex if you have oral herpes.

[ 08-01-2007, 11:42 PM: Message edited by: Light ]

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Gumdrop Girl
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Member # 568

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My comments in BOLD.

quote:
Originally posted by TheFlash:
I was wondering (for no reason besides curious) about herpes. I see there are two kinds of virus, I and II. It says I "usually infects the mouth" and II "usually infects the genitals".

There are many more than two kinds of herpes viruses. It's a HUGE family. But tese two are the ones that commonly cause lesions on people. While HSV-1 *usually* infects the mouth by way of the maxillary ganglia, and HSV-2 *usually* infects the genitals by way of the sacral ganglia, *sometimes* the viruses have been known to inhabit other sites.

I'm finding this a bit confusing. Are they different viruses, or if it's on your mouth, they just call it type I, and type II if on your genitals?

They are different, but similar, viruses. Kinda like the difference between a chihuahua and a sheepdog. They're both domestic canines, but you wouldn't mistake one for the other upon closer inspection. In lab tests, you can tell the difference between these viruses. Sometimes, HSV-1 is found in lesions on the genitals. Usually this is because it was transmitted during unprotected oral sex. Vice versa is true.

If they are different (I think so from reading between the lines), is it just more difficult to show up in the other's area (ex type II sore on the mouth)? Or is it just difficult to transmit type I with oral sex?

Each virus has its preferred site of infection. Herpes viruses hide out in nerve bundles called ganglia -- I hinted at this earlier. HSV-1 likes to live in a cluster of nerves near your jaw hinge. HSV-2 likes to live in a cluster of nerves near your tailbone. However, they're not strictly obligated to live at these sites. Sometimes, the virus gets transmitted t the wrong site, and it just stays there. HSV-1 in the sacral ganglia will survive okay, but it's not happy there. So if you get a HSV-1 outbreak in your genitals, you're not quite as likely to have repeat outbreaks.

When I went in to be tested, I didn't get a herpes test because the doctor said it wasn't a very reliable test. I don't know if that means it can show positive when you don't have it, or show negative when you do?, she didn't explain and I forgot to ask. I've never had any symptoms, but that proves nothing from my understanding?

There's a new test for herpes called HerpeSelect. It is reliable and fairly accurate at differentiating between HSV-1 and HSV-2. But it is EXPENSIVE and not often covered by insurance unless you are going in for a pre-natal screen. Unless you have $200 to blow, you shouldn't get this test unless you have a reason to believe you have been exposed to HSV. While it's nice to know these things, it's not practical to do widescale screenings for a disease that infects suck a HUGE chunk of the population, poses no lethal threat and cannot be cured. It's more hurt than it's worth sometimes.

If you get type I, does it protect you from getting type II? This works for cowpox protecting from smallpox (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cowpox) so I was wondering if this is the same for herpes?

This can get confusing. If you have HSV-1, you can still get HSV-2. But if you get HSV-2 first, you will not get HSV-1.

If you have type I herpes, do you have to do something special to protect others? Like, tell them you have it and take medications (valtrex), or is that only for people with type II? If so, how would you know if the test is not reliable?

Valtrex (valacyclovir), Zovirax (acyclovir) and Famvir (famciclovir) are all drugs that can suppress herpes viruses. This includes HSV-1, HSV-2, shingles and chicken pox. About 70% of the population has HSV-1; most get it as children through nonsexual means. Bu if you have genital herpes -- either strain -- you should be honest with your partner, always use condoms (unless you are trying to conceive) and strongly consider taking a suppressive therapy (usually Valtrex or Zovirax). Suppressive therapies and consistent condom use hasbeen shown to prevent transmission of herpes to previously-uninfected partners by as much as 90+ percent.

If you have type I and perform oral sex on someone without type I or type II, I assume you can transmit type I to them. If so, would it show up on their gentials or is it just in their blood and travels to other places (like the mouth)? Or does the virus stay where the infection started?

The virus shows up where it was deposited. So if you have HSV-1 and your partner did not have either strain, s/he can get herpes lesion on his/her genitals. however, if your partner already had HSV-1 in the form of oral herpes, then it would NOT be spread to the genitals.

Okay, that's enough. btw, I'd like to be a vet someday so I'm always curious about disease stuff (or maybe I'm just simply weird for wondering when I read stuff).

thx.

No problem. Cheers, mate!

--------------------
LA County STD Hotline 1.800.758.0880
Toll free STD and clinic information, and condoms sent to your door for Los Angeles County residents.
1 in 3 sexually active people will be exposed to a STD by the time they turn 24.

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Gumdrop Girl
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 568

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quote:
Originally posted by Light:
However, I am not sure if you can give someone genital herpes through oral sex if you have oral herpes.

OHH YES YOU CAN!!!

If you have oral herpes, and your partner has neither HSV-1 nor HSV-2, you can give your partner genital herpes!

Use a flavored condom for fellatio and dental dams for cunnilingus or analingus. A simple barrier of latex or plastic can prevent genital herpes.

--------------------
LA County STD Hotline 1.800.758.0880
Toll free STD and clinic information, and condoms sent to your door for Los Angeles County residents.
1 in 3 sexually active people will be exposed to a STD by the time they turn 24.

Posts: 12677 | From: Los Angeles, CA ... somewhere off the 10 | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
wobblyheadedjane
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 11569

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quote:
Originally posted by Light:
I want to know this too. I do know that like 80% of the population have herpes simplex 1, and it's really easy to spread. All catholics probably get it when they take wine at communion.

In addition to Gumdrop's super informative post, studies have been done on communion wine and the spread of disease, and there have been no reported cases of illness after consuming communion wine. That doesn't necessarily mean its not possible, but the alcoholic content of the wine, and the wiping of the cup probably makes communion wine safer than sharing lip gloss or straws.

--------------------
Unlucky at cards; lucky at love.

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EverTheWild
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Member # 20932

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While we're on the subject of Herpes questions, I have a few myself. What are these "other types"? I know herpes causes not only genital and oral herpes, but also cold sores, chicken pox, and shingles. However, I have a "friend" (or in this case, a person who likes to pull my chain) who has been talking about a "nontransferable, asymptomic" type he called "IGG." Searching the internet makes me believe he means something that causes one to test positve for Immunoglobin G, but WebMd says that it's M, not G, that is the antibody for herpes. So, what is my friend talking about? And if he IS talking about testing positive for the Immunoglobin M that reacts to herpes without having any outbreaks, is that really nontransferable? I was under the impression that if you have antibodies, it's entirely transferable (unless of course one uses the excellent valtrex + latex method suggested above).
And if a strand isn't transferable, how would one get it in the first place? Is is nontransferable in and of itself, or is it nontransferable just because that specific person isn't transferring it out after catching it initially?

Posts: 36 | From: St. Louis, MO, USA | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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