The Encounter

When I confronted my friend about the situation, I asked if he knew that he had herpes. ”I thought it was a cut,” he said.” How would you cut yourself there?” I asked.Years later, I’ve come to  the realization that he knew he had herpes, and that is the reason he stopped in the midst of our sexual adventure. Our friendship, unfortunately, ended as quickly as the act. It was hard enough to face the fact that we’d had sex, or tried to, and it was much harder to cope with the fact that I had caught an incurable sexually transmitted disease.

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Postherpetic neuralgia (chronic pain stage)

# Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is the most common complication of shingles. It lasts for at least 30 days and may continue for months or years. Symptoms are:

- Aching, burning, stabbing pain in the area of the earlier shingles rash.

- Persistent pain that may linger for years.

- Extreme sensitivity to touch.

# The pain associated with PHN most commonly affects the forehead or chest. This pain may make it difficult for the person to eat, sleep, and do daily activities. It may also lead to depression.

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Active stage (rash and blisters appear)

# A band, strip, or small area of rash appears. It can appear anywhere on the body but will be on only one side of the body, the left or right. Blisters will form. Fluid inside the blisters is clear at first but may become cloudy after 3 to 4 days. A few people won’t get a rash, or the rash will be mild.

# A rash may occur on the forehead, cheek, nose, and around one eye (herpes zoster ophthalmicus), which may threaten your sight unless you get prompt treatment.

# Pain, described as “piercing needles in the skin,” may occur along with the skin rash.

# Blisters may break open, ooze, and crust over in about 5 days. The rash heals in about 2 to 4 weeks, although some scars may remain.

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Prodromal stage (before the rash appears)

# Pain, burning, tickling, tingling, and/or numbness occurs in the area around the affected nerves several days or weeks before a rash appears. The discomfort usually occurs on the chest or back, but it may occur on the belly, head, face, neck, or one arm or leg.

# Flu-like symptoms (usually without a fever), such as chills, stomachache, or diarrhea, may develop just before or along with the start of the rash.

# Swelling and tenderness of the lymph nodes may occur.

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Having a healthy, happy relationship regardless of herpes

You and your partner will need to have open, honest communication about herpes so you can work together to prevent transmission. Your partner will need to feel comfortable telling you when he or she  feels an outbreak coming on. Your relationship may benefit as you talk and establish trust.On the other hand, if you aren’t sure about the relationship, or you are uncomfortable with the risk, consider delaying intimacy for a while. Get to know your partner better and give yourself time to adjust to the idea of herpes. There is no need to rush into decision.Keep in mind that all relationship face challenges, many far tougher than herpes. Good relationships stand or fall on far more important issues– including communication, respect and trust.Research Herpes Simplex Treatment

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Treatment of Eye Herpes

Mild infections of ocular herpes are usually treated with topical and oral antiviral medication. (It’s worth noting that topical steroids can make things worse if antivirals are not part of the treatment.) In severe cases, the infection may spread deeper into the cornea. Recurrent episodes of ocular herpes  can cause scarring of the cornea that may lead to loss of vision and possibly blindness.

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Between outbreaks, you may wish to use condoms to reduce the risk of infection

Condoms offer the best protection against other STDs and STIs as well, which is important in a new relationship. Since herpes does note pose a serious health risk, some couples choose not use condoms in a long-term relationship.Condoms should definitely be used engaging in casual sex but they are not always 100% protection. Also, new wool condoms have a woven texture through which this incredibly  small virus can migrate.

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Safer self Practices that may help minimize the risk

# Practice non-coital sex (sexual intimacy without penetration) before you are ready to take the relationship further. Use your imagination, there are all kinds of ways to have fun! Just make sure to avoid touching or kissing the affected area when there is any sign of an outbreak (including itching or tingling).

# Use barriers, male and/or female condoms (dental dams).

# Chemoprophylaxis – use a lubricant nonoxynol, proven to have some virucidal activity. Some people may be sensitive, causing them inflammation, rash or sores. In such cases it might increase likelihood of transmission – so definitely do not use in this case!

# Use a lubricant. This will decrease friction and make the viral particles less likely to adhere to new locations.

# Wash thoroughly afterwards (not the next morning), soap and water will help to remove the virus at the skin’s surface, whasing with diluted hydrogen peroxide or diluted chlorine bleach should also knock-out the virus.

# Take an antiviral or herbal remedy. The availability of antigen specific transfer factor, immune support (whit andrographis) and other immuno-helpers like beta glucan ushers in a new age of prevention.

# Be mindful of contact with the affected area to compromised skin such as cuts, abrasions and other skin conditions that could allow the virus to enter. The is more efficient at transmission if there is an opening in the skin.

# Be very mindful and serious about prevention. Practice safer sex methods without exceptions – slipping up on your protocols just once could be a potential problem.

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Herpes Simplex Eye Disease

OVERVIEW

Herpes simplex is a very common virus affecting the skin, mucous membranes, nervous system, and the eye. There are two types of herpes simplex. Type I causes cold sores or fever blisters and may involve the eye.  Type II is sexually transmitted and rarely causes ocular problems.   Nearly everyone is exposed to the virus during childhood. Herpes simplex is transmitted through bodily fluids, and children are often infected by the saliva of an adult. The initial infection is usually mild, causing only a sore throat or mouth. After exposure, herpes simplex usually lies dormant in the nerve that supplies the eye and skin.  Later on, the virus may be reactivated by stress, heat, running a fever, sunlight, hormonal changes, trauma, or certain medications. It is more likely to recur in people who have diseases that suppress their immune system. In some cases, the recurrence is triggered repeatedly and becomes a chronic problem.  When the eye is involved, herpes simplex typically affects the eyelids conjunctiva, and cornea. Keratitis (swelling caused by the infection), a problem affecting the cornea, is often the first ocular sign of the disease. In some cases, the infection extends to the middle layers of the cornea, increasing the possibility of permanent scarring.  Some patients develop uveitis, an inflammatory condition that affects other eye tissues.

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Take Precautions to Protect Against Transmission

The cold sore and genital herpes virus is contagious when it is active on the skin and is generally spread by direct skin-to-skin contact. There is a risk of the virus spreading when the first signs of tingling  or itching begin (prodome), as well as when no sores or blisters are visible.

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