Better2Know tests for two types of Herpes. They differ in where they affect you and the creams to make the outbreaks less bothersome are also more effective on the right viral type. Herpes Type 1 is oral herpes, very common, and is the leading cause of most cold sores around the mouth. Herpes Type 2 is genital herpes, less common, and is the leading cause of blisters and rashes in the genital area.
Herpes Type 1 is sometimes referred to as kissing herpes. Many people have it (some estimates go up to 70% in the UK). It can be passed on very easily to anyone with who you have mouth to mouth contact with. Some people find that they have one or two outbreaks, and then never have them again, or only have mild symptoms in the future. This is because, although the virus is still present, the body learns how to cope and overcome the virus. Around 1 in 4 people find that they have recurrent outbreaks. These can be brought on by stress, smoking, poor diet and being run down. Any of these things may cause the virus to flare up. Herpes Type 1 is treatable with over the counter remedies for cold sores. Try to avoid kissing anyone or touching your cold sore and then touching something else that other people will touch – such as a door handle, stationary, shared computer, as this could cause the virus to be passed on. Herpes type 1 is usually found above the belly button.
Herpes Type 2 is genital herpes. This is not as common a Type 1 but is still carried by a lot of people. It usually causes outbreaks in the genital area but can be anywhere below the belly button. Type 2 is usually passed on by sexual contact. The virus is most likely to be passed on when the blisters or sores are new and itchy and can be passed on by skin to skin contact (you do not actually have to have intercourse). Herpes Type 2 can cause complications in pregnancy and can cause flare-ups. There are anti-viral medications (creams and pills) that can decrease the severity and frequency of outbreaks.
If you are pregnant and have had a history of herpes then you should tell your midwife and discuss your concerns.
Better2Know can help you to get tested for Herpes at any of our clinics or in your own home.