herpes testing and treatment
Herpes Testing and Treatment in NYC
Central Park Medical Associates offers private New York herpes testing and treatment. Herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease that is referred to as herpes simplex. While many people associate herpes exclusively with STDs (herpes simplex virus 2 or HSV-2), other types of herpes such as cold sores (herpes simplex virus 1 or HSV-1), chicken pox and shingles are also part of the herpes family.
Herpes can occur anywhere on the skin, and can be painful and embarrassing. The herpes virus blends into the DNA of the genes it infects and makes copies of those genes to spread to other individuals. As the immune symptoms weakens, blisters occur. This is what is commonly referred to as a herpes outbreak.
A blood test or culture can identify the presence of herpes, and a number of medications are available to reduce or prevent future herpes outbreaks. Herpes can be serious if it infects people with weakened immune symptoms.
At Central Park Medical Associates, we offer private and confidential Herpes 1 and 2 testing, using the ELISA testing technique. With 20 years of experience and board certified doctors, you can be assured that you will get the best medical care. We allow for a confidential in-room check-in/check out process for the ultimate in privacy. Additionally, our practice consists of dermatological and medial facilities so the purpose of your visit is always discreet. Our staff is always caring, supportive and will do everything they can to make your visit comfortable.
We offer same-day herpes testing and treatment in New York. Call today!
Central Park Medical Associates offers Rapid, Confidential Herpes Testing Onsite in their CLIA Certified Lab.
What is genital herpes?
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the herpes simplex viruses type 1 (HSV-1) or type 2 (HSV-2). Most genital herpes is caused by HSV-2. Most individuals have no or only minimal signs or symptoms from HSV-1 or HSV-2 infection. When signs do occur, they typically appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals or rectum. The blisters break, leaving tender ulcers (sores) that may take two to four weeks to heal the first time they occur. Typically, another outbreak can appear weeks or months after the first, but it almost always is less severe and shorter than the first outbreak. Although the infection can stay in the body indefinitely, the number of outbreaks tends to decrease over a period of years.
How common is genital herpes?
Results of a nationally representative study show that genital herpes infection is common in the United States. Nationwide, 16.2%, or about one out of six, people 14 to 49 years of age have genital HSV-2 infection. Over the past decade, the percentage of Americans with genital herpes infection in the U.S. has remained stable.
Genital HSV-2 infection is more common in women (approximately one out of five women 14 to 49 years of age) than in men (about one out of nine men 14 to 49 years of age). Transmission from an infected male to his female partner is more likely than from an infected female to her male partner.
How do people get genital herpes?
HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be found in and released from the sores that the viruses cause, but they also are released between outbreaks from skin that does not appear to have a sore. Generally, a person can only get HSV-2 infection during sexual contact with someone who has a genital HSV-2 infection. Transmission can occur from an infected partner who does not have a visible sore and may not know that he or she is infected.
HSV-1 can cause genital herpes, but it more commonly causes infections of the mouth and lips, so-called “fever blisters.” HSV-1 infection of the genitals can be caused by oral-genital or genital-genital contact with a person who has HSV-1 infection. Genital HSV-1 outbreaks recur less regularly than genital HSV-2 outbreaks.
What are the signs and symptoms of genital herpes?
Most people infected with HSV-2 are not aware of their infection. However, if signs and symptoms occur during the first outbreak, they can be quite pronounced. The first outbreak usually occurs within two weeks after the virus is transmitted, and the sores typically heal within two to four weeks. Other signs and symptoms during the primary episode may include a second crop of sores, and flu-like symptoms, including fever and swollen glands. However, most individuals with HSV-2 infection never have sores, or they have very mild signs that they do not even notice or that they mistake for insect bites or another skin condition.
People diagnosed with a first episode of genital herpes can expect to have several (typically four or five) outbreaks (symptomatic recurrences) within a year. Over time these recurrences usually decrease in frequency. It is possible that a person becomes aware of the “first episode” years after the infection is acquired.
What are the complications of genital herpes?
Genital herpes can cause recurrent painful genital sores in many adults, and herpes infection can be severe in people with suppressed immune systems. Regardless of severity of symptoms, genital herpes frequently causes psychological distress in people who know they are infected.
In addition, genital HSV can lead to potentially fatal infections in babies. It is important that women avoid contracting herpes during pregnancy because a newly acquired infection during late pregnancy poses a greater risk of transmission to the baby. If a woman has active genital herpes at delivery, a cesarean delivery is usually performed. Fortunately, infection of a baby from a woman with herpes infection is rare.
Herpes may play a role in the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Herpes can make people more susceptible to HIV infection, and it can make HIV-infected individuals more infectious.
How is genital herpes diagnosed?
The signs and symptoms associated with HSV-2 can vary greatly. Health care providers can diagnose genital herpes by visual inspection if the outbreak is typical, and by taking a sample from the sore(s) and testing it in a laboratory. HSV infections can be diagnosed between outbreaks by the use of a blood test. Blood tests, which detect antibodies to HSV-1 or HSV-2 infection, can be helpful, although the results are not always clear-cut.
Is there a treatment for herpes?
There is no treatment that can cure herpes, but antiviral medications can shorten and prevent outbreaks during the period of time the person takes the medication. In addition, daily suppressive therapy for symptomatic herpes can reduce transmission to partners.
How can herpes be prevented?
The surest way to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, including genital herpes, is to abstain from sexual contact, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and is known to be uninfected.
Genital ulcer diseases can occur in both male and female genital areas that are covered or protected by a latex condom, as well as in areas that are not covered. Correct and consistent use of latex condoms can reduce the risk of genital herpes.
Persons with herpes should abstain from sexual activity with uninfected partners when lesions or other symptoms of herpes are present. It is important to know that even if a person does not have any symptoms he or she can still infect sex partners. Sex partners of infected persons should be advised that they may become infected and they should use condoms to reduce the risk. Sex partners can seek testing to determine if they are infected with HSV. A positive HSV-2 blood test most likely indicates a genital herpes infection.
Doctors refer to the infection commonly known as “herpes” as herpes simplex. The herpes simplex virus can cause sores anywhere on a person’s skin. It usually occurs around the mouth and nose or the buttocks and genitals. Herpes simplex infection is painful, embarrassing and often, will reappear again and again.
Say the word “herpes” and most people think of the sexually transmitted disease genital herpes. But herpes is actually the name of a family of viruses, which includes the cold sore virus (HSV-1), genital herpes (HSV-2), infectious mononucleosis (Epstein-Barr Virus), chicken pox and shingles (varicella zoster virus).
The two Herpes Simplex viruses, HSV-1 and HSV-2, look identical under the microscope, and either type can infect the mouth or genitals. Most commonly, however, HSV-1 occurs above the waist, and HSV-2 below.
These viruses blend into the DNA of genes after they infect, especially in the nerves. They try to force the body to make copies of them so they can spread to other people. The body’s immune system resists this. When one’s immune system is weakened, the virus finds a path to the skin and leaks out in tiny blisters. This is referred to as having a recurrence. Pain, burning or unusual tenderness of the skin may begin between one to several days before a recurrence.
Rarely, herpes can be serious in those with weak immune systems, such as newborn babies. More often, herpes is a mild infection. Many people who are infected don’t even know that they are, and instead think they are having some chaffing or skin irritation. Years later, when there is a recurrence of HSV, it may be mistaken for an initial attack. This can lead to unfair accusations of infidelity.
Herpes simplex is very common. At least one in six adults in the United States has HSV-2 and half to three quarter of all adults test positive to HSV 1. But only 10% of those exposed get visible sores.
Maintaining general good health and keeping stress to a minimum give the best possible chance to limit recurrences. Fortunately, recurrent infections tend to be milder than the initial attack. Also, HSV-1 infections tend to have fewer recurrences than HSV-2. Both may be set off by a variety of stress factors including fever, stress, irritation at a site previously infected, sun exposure and menstruation. However, for many the recurrence is unpredictable and has no recognizable cause.
Take care of the affected skin area. Keep the area dry and clean during outbreaks to help healing. Avoid physical contact with the area from the time of the first symptoms (tingling, itching, burning) until all sores are completely healed, not just scabbed-over. Wash hands with soap and water if a sore is touched. Better yet, don’t touch the sores as the virus can spread. HSV may infect the eye and lead to a condition called herpes keratitis. It feels like there is something in the eye. There is also pain and sensitivity to light and a discharge. This can cause serious eye damage if not promptly treated.
There is a vaccine to prevent herpes being tested, but it has not been approved by the FDA for general use. Several oral anti-viral medications (Zovirax, Famvir and Valtrex) have been developed for severe or frequently returning infections. Low doses are sometimes helpful in reducing the number of herpes attacks in people with frequent outbreaks. There is some evidence that taking these will make HSV less contagious. People who have taken Famvir with the initial attack seem to have fewer recurrences.
Prevention of this disease, which is contagious before and during an outbreak, is important. If tingling, burning, itching or tenderness — signs of a recurrence — occur in an area of the body where there was a herpes infection, then that area should be kept away from other people. With mouth lesions, one should avoid kissing and sharing cups or lip balms. For persons with genital herpes, this means avoiding sexual relations and oral and/or genital contact during the period of symptoms or active lesions. Towels should not be shared nor clothing exchanged.