As an expert on the site I frequently answer questions about herpes. Quite often I will refer the person to a particular area on the site, so they can read up and get a full understanding of the many details that are involved in answering their posted question- in fact, that I often cannot do full justice in my answer. I know when many of you post a question you just want "a quick and easy factual answer," but many times, the question is really complicated and background information is vital to establishing a foundation of information. So that's why I will suggest reading up under the "find" or "manage" tools on the site - reading the information in detail will serve you far better.
One area where I think readers do need to have a basic understanding is the area of herpes complications. Herpes has become such a prevalent part of millions of people's health, that I think we forget that it can have serious implications. First of all it's important to know that HSV can be a risk factor for cervical cancer. In the presence of accompanying HPV (the same virus that causes genital warts) in women, the risk for cervical cancer goes even higher.
If you are pregnant with HSV 1 or HSV 2 present in your vaginal canal or even around your vaginal area, you can transmit the herpes to your baby when delivered vaginally, and put the baby at risk for herpetic meningitis, herpetic viremia, chronic herpes skin infection and the baby can indeed be at serious risk of dying.
If you have herpes and any immune system issues, like AIDS, being on chemotherapy or taking radiation therapy, or taking high doses of cortisone (for treatment of chronic asthma or other health issues) you can then be at risk of developing:
- Herpes of the esophagus (Herpetic esophagitis)
- Herpes of the eye (Herpetic keratitis)
- Herpes of the liver (Herpetic hepatitis)
- Persitent herpes infection of the muccous membranes of the nose, mouth, throat
- Pneumonitis (lung infection)
- Spread of the virus to other organs
These complications are "worse case scenario" when you have HSV and other complicating health issues. The reason it's important to recognize these unfortunate possible complications is because they signal the importance of both safe sex and knowing your partner's sexual history and knowing everything you need to know about your disease and risk factors. Some of the questions I answer make it obvious to me that couples sometimes abandon safe sex for a variety of reasons. With rates of both herpes and AIDS escalating among the heterosexual population, safe sex is the only viable way of protecting yourself. Even if you have herpes, you want to practice safe sex by using a condom with partners who also have herpes. Why? Because by exposing each other to active virus, you increase your viral load. That can put you at risk for more outbreaks and complications from herpes.
So read up on the site and get the herpes facts!!
Published On: December 19, 2008