Friday, May 20, 2011

Tracing the Source of Herpes Infection?

This is in response to the question that we received last week.
I have seen a lot of patients with herpes outbreaks. The first and foremost question they will have is - who gave it them? This is a very difficult situation and you do not have direct answer. In fact, you cannot conclude it based on the tab tests considering several modes of transmission including skin to skin contact.

In a straight forward case such as recent sexual contact followed by herpes outbreaks within few weeks, we may think the new sexual partner as a source of infection if you never had any STDs or sexual partner. But this is not the usual case; most people usually have complex relationships and multiple sexual partner at different time point in their lives. This is quite possible that someone was infected longtime ago and remain asymptomatic.

Just for your information, it may not be possible to detect the exact date of infection, but you can have some idea based on these facts. Most people remain asymptomatic after getting herpes infection. Probably, this is the main barrier why you can not predict the exact date. In a small number of cases, those who develop symptoms do so within 2 weeks of getting infection. Thus, you could have been infected as early as 2 weeks, otherwise you had the virus for a while inside your body, and this is just an outbreak. keep in mind that first outbreak is more severe and more painful, so you may want to take anti viral medication to decrease the severity of your symptoms and speedy recovery.

If you are in a relationship, it is better to have STDs testing for your partner. This is particularly important for preventing transmission, if he is not the source of infection. In the mean time avoid sexual contact with your partner.

You can read more about herpes from our previous post:
Are you scared of herpes? A potential cure.
HSV type1: Can You Get It In Genitalia?


  1. Thanks for the information on herpes. This is a horrible std to catch. Please everyone be safe out there!

  2. Thanks for your comments.
    Yes, it is a bad one!
    Lets hope the Duke University research would come up with herpes cure in near future.

  3. A cure would be wonderful. The demand for a cure for herpes, and other stds, is so high; it's a wonder we havent solved it yet!

  4. Yes, you are right!
    We have made some progress in STDs caused by bacteria, but viral STDs are still a mystery.

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