What is Herpes(HSV)?
HSV or Herpes Simplex Virus is a common viral infection that affects the skin and mucous membranes. Herpes testing is important if you’ve been sexually active with a partner known to have the virus, read on to learn where to get tested in Nashville. There are two main types of HSV:
- HSV-1 (Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1): This type primarily causes oral herpes, commonly known as cold sores or fever blisters. It is usually transmitted through oral-to-oral contact, such as kissing or sharing utensils. However, it can also be transmitted through oral-genital contact, leading to genital herpes.
- HSV-2 (Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2): This type primarily causes genital herpes, which is typically transmitted through sexual contact. However, it is important to note that HSV-1 can also cause genital herpes through oral-genital contact.
Symptoms & Testing of Herpes
Symptoms of herpes can vary depending on the type of herpes virus (HSV-1 or HSV-2) and the location of the infection. Here are the common symptoms associated with herpes:
- Oral Herpes (HSV-1):
- Cold sores or fever blisters on or around the lips and mouth.
- Tingling, itching, or burning sensation before the sores appear.
- Small, painful, fluid-filled blisters that may burst and form crusts.
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck or other nearby areas.
- Generally, the initial outbreak is more severe than recurrent outbreaks.
- Genital Herpes (HSV-2 or sometimes HSV-1):
- Small, painful, fluid-filled blisters or sores on the genitals, buttocks, or anus.
- Itching, tingling, or burning sensations in the genital area before the sores appear.
- Pain or discomfort during urination.
- Flu-like symptoms, including fever, body aches, and swollen lymph nodes, during the initial outbreak.
- Recurrent outbreaks may have milder symptoms and shorter durations.
It is important to note that some individuals infected with herpes may experience no or very mild symptoms, leading to unrecognized or asymptomatic infections. However, even in the absence of visible sores, the virus can still be transmitted to sexual partners.
If you suspect you may have herpes or have been exposed to the virus, it is advisable to seek medical attention for proper diagnosis and management.
Herpes can be diagnosed through various methods, including:
- Physical examination: A healthcare provider can often make a preliminary diagnosis of herpes by visually examining the affected area, such as the presence of characteristic blisters or sores. However, a physical examination alone is not sufficient to confirm the diagnosis.
- Viral culture: During a viral culture, a sample is taken from an active herpes sore or blister and sent to a laboratory. The sample is then tested to determine the presence of the herpes virus. This method is most effective when the sample is collected within the first 48 to 72 hours of the outbreak.
- Blood tests: Blood tests can determine the presence of herpes antibodies in the blood, indicating a past or current herpes infection. Two types of blood tests are commonly used:
- IgM antibody test: This test detects the early antibodies produced during an active herpes infection. However, it can sometimes yield false-positive results or inaccurate results.
- IgG antibody test: This test detects the long-term antibodies produced after the initial infection. It can help determine whether a person has been previously infected with herpes and differentiate between HSV-1 and HSV-2.
It is important to note that herpes tests may not always provide definitive results, and false-negative or false-positive results can occur. Therefore, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional who can interpret the test results accurately and provide appropriate guidance and treatment if necessary.
Treatment & Prevention of Herpes
Treatment of herpes aims to manage symptoms, reduce the frequency and severity of outbreaks, and minimize the risk of transmitting the virus to others. There is no cure for herpes, as the virus remains in the body once infected. However, antiviral medications can help with symptom relief and outbreak management. Here are the common approaches for treatment and prevention:
- Antiviral medications: Prescription antiviral drugs are commonly used to treat herpes. These medications can help reduce the duration and severity of outbreaks, alleviate symptoms, and decrease the risk of transmission. They are most effective when started at the earliest sign of an outbreak or taken as a daily suppressive therapy for those experiencing frequent recurrences.
- Symptom management: Over-the-counter pain relievers can help alleviate pain and discomfort associated with herpes outbreaks. Additionally, applying topical creams or ointments to the affected area may provide temporary relief.
- Safe sexual practices: To prevent the transmission of herpes to sexual partners, it’s important to practice safe sex. This includes consistently and correctly using latex or polyurethane condoms, particularly during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. It is essential to note that condoms may not provide complete protection, as the virus can be present in areas not covered by the condom.
- Disclosure and communication: Openly communicating with sexual partners about your herpes status is crucial. Disclosing your infection allows them to make informed decisions and take necessary precautions to reduce the risk of transmission.
- Avoiding sexual activity during outbreaks: It is advisable to abstain from sexual activity during an active outbreak, including the presence of visible sores or symptoms. This helps reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to a partner.
- Good hygiene practices: Maintaining good personal hygiene, such as washing hands regularly and keeping the affected area clean and dry, can help prevent the spread of herpes.
Complete Health Partners Same-Day STD & STI Testing
At Complete Health Partners urgent care clinics, we offer same-day testing for Herpes (HSV) in Nashville and Hendersonville. Patients can expect to receive results in 24-72 hours. With simple online appointment booking, you can be seen on your time, or you can walk in to any of our 3 Nashville area clinics. No insurance? No problem, our clinics offer affordable self-pay options for those who are uninsured. Regular testing is important and many STDs do not show symptoms early. Don’t wait to take control of your sexual health, book a same day and confidential appointment online to get treatment today.
6749 Charlotte Pike, Nashville, TN 37209
9am – 7pm, 7 days a week
166 E. Main Street, Hendersonville, TN 37075
9am – 7pm, 7 days a week