80% of us have HSV1 (cold sores & sometimes genital)
16-30% of us have HSV2 (genital herpes) [20-35% in women]
90% of us don't know it.
So yes, at least 1 in 6 people reading this already have HSV2. [estimated 1 in 5 women in the US under age 45.]
But again, most of us don't know it.
Why? Most people don't have symptoms, or don't notice them.
Technically, herpes is not a disease.
Herpes is a mild skin infection, which sometimes manifests blister-like symptoms and can be transmitted to others by skin-to-skin contact. You don't have to have sex to get it, and most people who do get it, don't notice.
The official description was "cold sores in an interesting location" until a drug company decided they could sell antivirals by making us scared of it.
Herpes is not included in the standard STD screening.
Unless you're pregnant or actually showing symptoms they won't test you for it. Even if you specifically ask, many clinics will refuse to test you. Why? Because so many people test positive for it.
If we diagnose you without symptoms, now we have to give you drugs that you don't need because you don't have any symptoms and we've given you the psychological stress of having to deal with something which won't actually affect your life at all. -- The truth is you might just be immune to the virus but not have a resident population, or it might be permanently dormant, or you might be silently giving it to lots of people, we can't tell. (There is actually no way to tell if you don't have symptoms.) -- So the best solution is just not to test you.
The truth is that herpes really isn't a big deal.
A good place to start is the American Social Health Association
Their FAQ is quite good.
This profile is a public service announcement. I'm still working on the content.
However, the guy writing it would like to meet an attractive, intelligent young lady. So we will see how my edits come along, and you're more than welcome to drop a line.
Me, I'm a guy. Complex, meaningful, generally considered a solid fellow. I have herpes. Let's talk about something that actually matters.
[The text on here is Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike [CC BY-NC-SA], That means you can quote me and reuse/remix this text. However, you have to attribute it back to this profile, and your usage inherits this license. If folks want commercial license to things I write, you can contact me.]
More text below keep reading.
In real life, I make stuff work, mainly for hospitals.
Herpes is a skin infection.
Therefore it requires skin contact.
The virus is very well adapted for humans, but basically dies when left anywhere else.
Therefore you cannot get it from toilet seats or the subway.
However, you don't actually have to have intercourse to transmit HSV2.
This is why it's important to wash your hands.
Condom usage cuts HSV2 transmission in half. If it covers the site of the infection. [Also IF you actually use one correctly.]
Antivirals cut transmission in half for persons with recurrent outbreaks. Effectiveness in persons without said outbreaks has not been studied. [Maybe it's higher/Maybe it's lower.]
There is no way to avoid getting HSV1. It is transmitted through normal daily activities. That's why 80% of the population have it. Most people get it from their mothers (source unverified). You do not need to have "the talk" about the fact that you get cold-sores. Just don't kiss anyone while you have one, and wash your hands.
Herpes stays dormant in your nerve cells. This is why you can have the infection, but not have any symptoms.
Stimulating your nerves, can wake the virus.
i.e. Having great sex can cause you to have an outbreak. Even if you've never had one before.
DO NOT immediately threaten your partner.
You may have just given it to them.
Your likelihood of getting the virus with a partner that knows they have it but without protection is 4% per year of sex. Condoms cut that in half. Antivirals also cut that in half.
So 1% per year likelihood, with proper awareness.
Your likelihood of transmission with someone who has it but doesn't know, is somewhat higher. However, no one has figured out a good way to study that. So we're just guessing based on the fact that the infected population has been stable for the last fifty years or so.
An activated virus causes a tingling, burning or pain sensation, depending upon the nerve type that it is hiding in. Therefor an aware carrier can often tell when they are potentially contagious. Taking that awareness seriously is the key to decreasing transmission rates. The sensation is often the only symptom of the infection.
Symptoms will decrease over time, as will incidents of infectiousness.
HSV1 can be transmitted oral-oral and oral-genital. So you can get HSV1 genitally. HSV2 [The main stigmatized one] cannot usually reside in oral nerves. So unless you have sores or cuts in your mouth, you're probably safe performing oral sex on an infected individual. It is still generally recommended to avoid performing oral sex on a person experiencing an outbreak. When a carrier is not shedding, they're not infective anyway, so you might as well have sex. That said I'm interested in the question if performing oral sex on an infected individual who is shedding, causes the "orator" to develop an immune response, and thus become asymptomatic. i.e. oral sex might act like a vaccine. If anyone wants to run that study, I'd be interested in the results.
Please note: neonatal herpes is a real issue if it occurs. However, it's caused by the mother being first exposed to the virus while pregnant. If the mother already has the virus, her immune system can provide protection to the fetus. So if you are pregnant, get tested for both HSV1 and HSV2. No one can ethically suggest infecting yourself with anything ahead of time, so don't do that. Just get tested, and get your partner tested.
Generally pregnant mothers who do have symptomatic genital herpes are advised to take antivirals during the last month of pregnancy to decrease the chance of passing the virus to the child. Cesareans are also an option.
Human Machine Interaction.
No, not really.
The most private thing I'm willing to admit is that sometimes it makes me less confident than I deserve to be.
I'm a hard core dude, and I'm sure you're a solid person.
It's a mild skin infection, and 20% of the people on here have it.
It doesn't really do anything, so don't let it affect who you are, and who you want to be.
Selling yourself on here is all posture anyhow.
Don't sell yourself short.
You actually want to go on a date, fully informed. I know that I don't have anything else. I got tested. Did you? [footnote #1]
In conversation, I will not ask your name. I like it when people volunteer information about themselves, and I may volunteer things about myself. But, the purpose of this PSA is not to gather information about you, and I think people should be in charge of their own privacy and information. I might even go so far as to ask someone out, without knowing their name. I've no way of knowing what's happening on your side of the keyboard. So I figure I'll just trust you to decide that.
Most of the people I've talked to have been wonderful folks. However, I do get some somewhat odd emails, and emails from persons of less than pure motives. Should I happen to respond "You read like a Nigerian Princess" or similar I'm probably trying to be helpful and failing. It happens (to me any rate).
Please note that the author is not a doctor, and is not giving any medical advice. However, if you are a doctor, feel free to write me and correct me. The author will attempt to address. [He may also ask you out.]
I have decided only to send emails giving points for good things in people's accounts. Not to attempt to solicit dates. It's too hard to predict what people read into this situation devoid of being able to read the writers facial expression. [fn#2] Yes, any random person might have it, but the whole point of the PSA is to educate on the commonness, not make folks feel it is directed at them. [As the author types this he is reconsidering the active acknowledgement of points.]
That said If you want to talk, don't stand on the usual "male must act". I'll happily chat. Even if I only really play with this thing at odd hours.
Please note the author of the PSA is having a little difficulty switching modes when contacted. So while he understands that dating on the site requires light flirtation he's not going to start in that stance. -- So yes, I know when you're being flirtatious and I appreciate it. However, the PSA is going to stay in professorial mode. The author is more than willing to flirt.
To what the PSA looks like, he looks like 20% of the people on here. The more attractive he is, the more likely he's in the 20%.
To what the author looks like. He looks like a healthy 40yr-old athlete. According to OKCupid his other profile is "very attractive". However, asking what the author looks like is not going to immediately cause him to link the two accounts. The author know's he is attractive to some, and not to others. He feels the same way about the women he meets. It's not a big deal.
#1: You can't test males for HPV. You should just assume anyone over 30 has been exposed to that. It's the version that matters. Go get vaccinated.
#2: Males rarely get feedback if they just do a poor job on this thing, so it is difficult to correct for misunderstandings, or accurately estimate "what they might have said". The author just figures he let slip that he writes weird. [No, not "weirdly". He writes normally; He just tends to include the meta-commentary. Which is weird, so the author probably is too.] [fn#3]
#3: Also the author does annoying things like refer to himself as "the author" in the third person. Which is definitely odd, but he's trying to maintain a distinction between his attempt at conveying information and allowing you, the reader, to have a concept of who is writing.