Genital Herpes 1 and 2 Testing and Treatment in NYC for Men and Women
Genital Herpes Testing: What You Need to Know
Genital Herpes in Men and Women in New York City
What is Genital Herpes? What Does a Herpes Sore Look Like?
Genital herpes is a highly contagious viral infection. It is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Anyone who is sexually active can get genital herpes. In fact, the CDC estimates (link) one in six Americans between the ages of 14 and 49 have herpes – that’s 50 million Americans. The infection is more common in women than in men.
There are two types of herpes virus. HSV-1 causes cold sores (fever blisters) in and around the mouth. HSV-2 causes genital herpes with herpetic sores that are painful fluid-filled blisters that break open and ooze. Sometimes genital herpes may be caused by HSV-1 when the infection spreads from the mouth to the genitals during oral sex.
Many people with genital herpes do not have any symptoms. However, even in the absence of any sores, the infection can still spread to sex partners.
How is Genital Herpes Transmitted? Can You Get Genital Herpes from Oral Sex?
Genital herpes spreads through vaginal, anal, or oral sex with an infected partner. The infection is transmitted through contact with:
- A herpes sore;
- Skin in the genital area or genital secretions (if the infected partner has genital herpes);
- Skin in the oral area or saliva (if the infected partner has oral herpes).
Even if an infected person does not have visible herpetic sores, he or she can still pass on the infection to their sex partner. Genital herpes can be acquired through oral sex with a partner who has oral herpes. This sexually transmitted infection (STI) does NOT spread from toilet seats, swimming pools, or shared linen, towels, or utensils.
What Are the Symptoms of Herpes? Do I Have Genital Herpes?
Quite often genital herpes produces no symptoms or very mild symptoms. A herpetic sore may be mistaken for an ingrown hair or a pimple. Many people who have genital herpes are not aware they are infected.
When symptoms do occur, the infection site where the virus enters the body may itch, burn, or tingle before the appearance of painful herpetic sores. Herpes occasionally can also cause UTI-like symptoms with urethral discomfort, frequent urination, and painful urination.
Herpetic sores ulcerate (break open), release fluid, and finally crust over and heal. Sores are often present in clusters and cause swelling and tenderness. Herpes blisters can be present:
- on the penis, scrotum, buttocks, and around the anus in men
- around the vagina, anus, and buttocks in women
- in and around the mouth, lips, and face in men and women
The presence of visible sores is called a “herpes outbreak.” The first outbreak is often associated with flu-like symptoms such as a headache, muscle aches, fever, chills, swollen glands, nausea, and fatigue. The initial outbreak is typically the most severe and lasts anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks.
HSV-2, the virus that causes genital herpes, can lead to repeated outbreaks. If you or your partner have any signs or symptoms of genital herpes, it is essential a doctor examines you. Diagnosis can be made by visual examination and laboratory tests.
A blood test can diagnose HSV infection in people who do not have any signs or symptoms. A blood test may be false-negative in the setting of a new acute infection. Blood test for the herpes measures immune response, which can take weeks to occur. Wound culture of a herpetic sore can detect the herpes virus in the setting of acute infection.
Make an appointment today with fellowship-trained urologists at New York Urology Specialists for appropriate testing and treatment of genital herpes and other STDs.
What Does Blood Test For HSV1 and HSV-2 Tell You?
A positive HSV-2 or HSV-1 test says that there has been an infection at some point. Sometimes the immune system may fight off the virus and eliminate it from the body; other times the virus may be present and not give any symptoms for many years. Blood tests are positive for life even when the body fights off the HSV virus.
Currently, there is no test to distinguish whether the body fought off infection or whether the infection is still present but does not cause symptoms.
About 10-15% of people with a positive HSV test have the virus on their genital skin and can infect others even in the absence of any symptoms.
Do Condoms Protect Against Herpes?
Consistent and correct use of latex condoms by a male sexual partner can lower the risk of getting genital herpes, but it does not offer 100 percent protection. Herpetic sores can occur in areas that are not covered by the condom. The infection can also spread through contact with semen or vaginal secretions.
Did My New Sexual Partner Give Me Genital Herpes?
Genital herpes is not always symptomatic. Many people have the HSV-2 infection but do not have any visible herpetic sores. A blood test can tell if you have had a herpes infection, but it cannot tell who gave you the infection.
When symptoms are present, the appearance of blisters is called a herpes outbreak. The first outbreak of genital herpes can occur 2 to 10 days after exposure to the virus, but sometimes sores do not appear until 30 days later. That’s why it is difficult to say if a new sexual partner gave you the infection. The only way to know for sure is if both partners are tested for STDs before getting into a relationship. At New York Urology Specialists, we offer same-day confidential testing for genital herpes in men and women.
Can My Partner Infect Me If He Does Not Have an Outbreak of Genital Herpes?
Yes, you can contract genital herpes even when your partner is not having an outbreak. Genital herpes spreads through contact with herpetic sores, but also through contact with skin and genital fluids (semen and vaginal secretions). People who are infected with the herpes simplex virus can pass on the infection to their sex partners even when they do not have any visible herpetic sores or other signs and symptoms of the disease.
Genital Herpes Treatment in New York City: Is there a Natural Cure for Herpes?
There is no cure for herpes. Treatment for genital herpes can reduce the severity and frequency of outbreaks but once infected the virus often remains in the body for the rest of the person’s life. Taking anti-herpes medicines can reduce the chances of passing on the infection to sex partner(s). So-called natural cures for herpes, such as vitamin E, zinc, lemon balm, licorice, and oatmeal baths are unproven, and for the most part, ineffective, although some of them may offer symptomatic relief from itching and painful blisters.
What Will Happen If I Don’t Get Treated for Genital Herpes?
Genital herpes can cause painful blisters, which may be particularly severe in people with compromised immunity. Without treatment, this STD can lead to a number of complications:
- Touching the sores or fluid from the sores can transfer the infection to other parts of the body, such as the eyes. If you have visible herpetic sores, you should wash your hands thoroughly after touching them. Treatment can help reduce the frequency of outbreaks.
- Pregnant women can pass on genital herpes to their baby before birth or during delivery. Neonatal herpes can be fatal. Anti-herpes treatment in pregnant women can reduce the risk of deadly complications in the newborn baby.
- Breaks in the skin from ulcerated herpetic sores are a way for the HIV virus to enter the body. People who do not get treated for genital herpes are at increased risk of HIV/AIDS. Co-infection with HIV and genital herpes increases the risk of HIV transmission to sex partners.
How Can I Protect Against Herpes? Can I Have Sex If I Have Genital Herpes?
The only way to avoid genital herpes and other STDs is to abstain from vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Adults who are sexually active can lower their risk by avoiding risky sexual behaviors and being in a long-term monogamous relationship with a partner who has tested negative for genital herpes. Consistent and correct use of condoms can also reduce the chances of herpes transmission. If you are in a relationship with someone who has genital herpes, you can reduce your risk of getting the infection by:
- Ensuring your partner takes anti-herpes medication daily.
- Getting prophylactic (preventive) treatment.
- Avoiding vaginal, oral, and anal sex when your partner is having an outbreak.
Regular STD testing can prevent the spread of infections to sexual partners. It is not unusual to have co-infection with more than one STI. Very often STDs show no symptoms at all or mimic the symptoms of non-sexually-transmitted infections. That’s why it is especially important to undergo comprehensive STD testing for the most common infections on a regular basis. Most STDs are easily treatable. Many sexually transmitted infections can cause severe complications if left untreated.
At New York Urology Specialists, we offer same-day confidential STI testing for men and women in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and other New York City boroughs. Results are available within 7 days on our online portal. Our board-certified urologists have extensive experience in the management of genital herpes and other sexually transmitted diseases.
What You Need to Know About Genital Herpes:
Genital herpes is a viral infection that is transmitted from person to person during sexual activity. Most infections are caused by HSV-2 or herpes-2 virus. Some people develop visible, painful herpetic sores in the genital area while others remain symptom-free. The infection can be passed on to sex partners even when no blisters are present. Genital herpes is not curable. Treatment can help control outbreaks and prevent the spread of this infection to sex partners.
Scheduling Appointments for Herpes Treatment and Genital Herpes HSV-2 Testing at New York Urology Specialists
If you have any questions about testing or treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STI), schedule a consultation, contact us or call 1-(646)-663-4125. We have excellent reviews from patients and their partners.
We offer affordable, highest-quality urology care with or without insurance. Find out our office hours or directions to our office. We offer weekday, weekend and evening office hours.
Dr. Alex Shteynshlyuger is a board-certified urologist, who specializes in all aspects of care for sexual problems in men and women including testing and treatment for STDs, genital warts, HPV vaccination as well as treatment of sexual problems including ED, premature ejaculation and other sexual concerns. He has successfully treated hundreds of men with sexual problems including ED and poor libido.
STDs are Treatable in Nearly Every Man and Woman
At New York Urology Specialists, our urologists are specially trained in the evaluation and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STI). We understand the challenges that STDs such as chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, and ureaplasma create for our patients, their relationships, and their self-esteem. We help you find an effective treatment for your symptoms that may be caused by STD, UTI or another cause.
Urologists are doctors specializing in the treatment of infections in men and women caused by sexually transmitted diseases as well as bladder infections (UTI). By the virtue of our experience and skill, we are able to offer an effective treatment option for nearly every man and women with urinary problems and bladder control problems.
We treat some of the most complex STD problems including:
- Persistent urinary urgency
- Frequent recurrence of genital warts
- Frequent recurrence of herpes outbreaks
- HIV prevention
- Genital warts in the urethra
- Treatment of infections when antibiotics do not work well
- Testing for urinary ureaplasma and mycoplasma.
Schedule an Appointment with Dr. Shteynshlyuger:
Dr. Alex Shteynshlyuger is a fellowship trained board-certified urologist with expertise in evaluation and treatment of urological problems in men and women using modern effective and proven treatment methods. He is highly recommended by top primary care physicians in the New York area. If you or someone you know has been experiencing urological symptoms, make an appointment to take advantage of Dr. Shteynshlyuger’s expert advice. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.