How Can You Get Herpes?

You’re probably wondering, “How Can You Get Herpes?”

This is the most common question about herpes and you might have a lot of other questions, too.

After all, it is an infection that is fast becoming one of the most prevalent Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) in the world. 

There is currently no cure for herpes; once you’ve acquired the infection, you will have it for life. 

But the good news is that it is not fatal.

Modern medicine has made much advancement to herpes treatments that make living with herpes a lot easier and a lot less expensive to manage. Fast relief can be achieved at home as well for those suffering from outbreaks.

Herpes is essentially a skin condition that causes some minor inconveniences from time to time. Some lifestyle adjustments need to be made, is all.

If you know someone who has herpes or you might be worried about herpes yourself, then it is only natural to be curious about it. Continue reading to know more about how can you get herpes.

What is Herpes?

Before we answer the question of “How Can You Get Herpes?” we first need to fully understand what herpes really is.

Herpes, in a nutshell, is a highly contagious sexually transmitted infection caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus. It has two types:

  1. Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (HSV 1) - is also known as oral herpes and is the cause of cold sores.
  2. Herpes Simplex Virus 2 (HSV 2) – is also known as genital herpes and causes outbreaks around the genital area, lower back, and buttocks.

According to the CDC, it is estimated that one out of six persons have the HSV 2 virus!!

The infection is also more prominent in women due to a much higher risk of herpes transmission from a herpes positive male to a non-positive female partner.

How Can You Get Herpes?

safe herpes sex

People can get herpes by direct skin-to-skin contact with a herpes positive person. Even without the visible signs of herpes (sores or blisters), one can still get the infection.

This is due to a phenomenon called “viral shedding” in which the herpes virus travels from the nerves at the base of the spine to the initial site of infection.

Some people experience outbreaks and some don’t at all. So it can be unpredictable at times. With active outbreaks, the chance of herpes transmission is increased, as the virus is secreted through the sores.

Since herpes is a sexually transmitted virus, you can acquire it by having vaginal sex, anal sex, and even oral sex with someone who has herpes. It can also be spread through kissing someone with cold sores.

How can you get herpes is basically being sexually intimate with someone who has it.

But that doesn't mean your sex life is over! You can still enjoy great, wonderful sex with herpes.

Just remember that anytime you or (your partner) have outbreaks, it is best to avoid kissing and just abstain from sex for awhile until the symptoms disappear. Practicing protected sex is also recommended, as the risks of herpes transmission are reduced.

A herpes positive person should also consider doubling up his or her antiviral medication, especially when he or she is sexually active with a non-positive partner.

Who Gets Herpes?

Millions of people in the United States alone have herpes. Most people who have herpes are not even aware they have it, either because they have very mild symptoms which they dismiss as some other kind of infection (jock itch, boils, etc) or they never experience outbreaks at all.

If that's how can you have herpes then who gets it? Absolutely anyone can acquire it! The risk is further increased the higher the number of sexual partners one has.

Having unprotected sex is also a factor. Condoms may not completely block the virus but protection is better than none at all.

People with low immune systems have an increased chance of acquiring herpes. The herpes virus loves to thrive when the body is weak or stressed out.

Some diseases like diabetes and certain medications can also impair the immune system, making the body more susceptible to herpes viral attacks.

What Should I Do Now?

If you’re the type to ask “How Can You Get Herpes?” that could mean you are probably dating (or about to date) someone with herpes. It could also mean that you might be seeing some signs and symptoms of herpes on yourself and are worried sick.

  1. Get Herpes Tested. My advice is to get yourself checked... get a herpes blood test that can accurately distinguish between the two types of herpes virus. It is the only way to get some questions answered and have some peace of mind.
  2. Get Your Partner Tested. If you see some suspicious signs and symptoms on your partner, calmly suggest they get tested too. You might have given it to them already or they might have given it to you. They might not also know that they have herpes or are just in denial. 
  3. Research about Herpes. Read everything about herpes and know what you can do about it. Start with perusing through articles on this website or check out the Herpes Survival Guide eBook. That way you can make informed decisions health-wise in the future.
herpes survival guide: how to live happy with herpes

Bottom line: if you suspect you (or your partner) might have herpes, best is to set an appointment with your family doctor or healthcare provider. They are the experts who can give a correct diagnosis and medicine prescription for you.

If results come back positive and you do have herpes, then hey... it’s not the end of the world!

I’ve had herpes for almost 2 decades now and have learned to appreciate life and my sexuality more because of it.

Lots of people with herpes go on to live their lives... you can do it too! It's not that big of a deal.

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