Asymptomatic Shedding

Asymptomatic Shedding

I talked to him today and it was rough, but we actually made progress. If the number of people infected with genital herpes continues to grow at the present rate, it is predicted that in time nearly half the US adult population will have genital herpes. The term ‘incidence’ of Genital herpes refers to the annual diagnosis rate, or the number of new cases of Genital herpes diagnosed each year. Many more people in New York are infected with the Herpes Simplex type 1 virus that causes cold sores. HSV-2 is more likely to shed than HSV-1, especially in women. I know he is a good man. – The average number of outbreaks is 4 to 5 a year.
Asymptomatic Shedding

Ideal symptoms of blisters and ulcers do not occur in everyone who has herpes. The virus is spread through rapid skin to skin contact with an infected person and causes painful vaginal herpes or on the penis when spread through sexual skin contact. The virus moves from the skin into the nerve endings to the nerve root or ganglion (located near the spinal cord). Here the virus remains dormant and then periodically migrates back out to the surface of the skin. This risk increases to 40%, 62% and more than 80% as the number of lifetime partners increases to 2-10, 11-50, or more than 50, respectively. An exception to this finding is a phenomenon called a number of things, including asymptomatic viral shedding, sub-clinical shedding and, autoinoculation In strict usage, symptoms refer to any marker of disease – including not only visible lesions but the feelings such as burning or itching. Therefore a person who experiences itching, for example, would not be asymptomatic.

Especially during the first few weeks of an initial infection before the body has built up immunity to the virus a person can spread the virus by touching the area of infection then immediately touching another area of the body this is uncommon and can generally be avoided by thoroughly washing hands. For the first six months to a year after the initial episode, shedding may occur more frequently. The incidence of asymptomatic shedding is greatest during the first couple of years after infection. Shedding occurs randomly and seems to some be influenced by sites of infection and viral type, severity and frequency of outbreaks. Thus, the more outbreaks one has, the more severe one’s outbreaks are, the higher the incidence of shedding. HSV-2 seems to shed more often than HSV-1, particularly in genital infections. Medical experts believe asymptomatic shedding is responsible for most cases of transmission.

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Asymptomatic Shedding

Asymptomatic Shedding

We report the transmission of genital herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection from an asymptomatic woman shedding virus from the cervix to two male sexual partners and further transmission from these two men while their infection was in the prodromal phase. Approaches intended to provide supportive counselling and reassurance of patients about these issues need now to be modified in the light of increasing data of the frequency of asymptomatic detection of virus and the effects of antiviral therapy on this phenomenon. Oral antiviral therapy, until recently, had been prescribed for patients with genital herpes either to alleviate the acute symptoms and signs of an outbreak (initial or episodic treatment) or to prevent HSV reactivation and the subsequent development of recurrent outbreaks (suppressive therapy). It doesn’t always show itself in the form of a herpes outbreak that you will be able to see OR feel. But, it’s quietly active and present on the surface which is why 70% of people that contract herpes did so from people that didn’t know they had it. I’m sure you’ve heard by now watching those Valtrex commercials that 90% of those people that have genital herpes have no idea that they have it and for lots of different reasons. Well, asymptomatic shedding is one of those reasons why some people have no idea that they have herpes.

Asymptomatic Shedding
It’s possible that they unknowingly passed it on to an unsuspecting partner this way. Ok, so now that we have this simple herpes definition out of the way I’m going to tell you what the herpes books in my home library have to say about herpes asymptomatic shedding. I’m also suspecting that the reason why some doctors tell their patients not to worry about passing it on when there are no signs OR symptoms is because they are unaware of the fact that asymptomatic shedding actually does exist for people with herpes. If you are someone who has a doctor that is uninformed then maybe you can give them a phone call and let them know a little bit about asymptomatic shedding. Unfortunately doctors and healthcare providers are not required to stay up to date on sexually transmitted diseases. So, maybe you can help to educate them by mentioning these medical concepts to them. Turn to page 21 and start reading the 2nd paragraph.

It says: Often, active herpes infections are mild and not especially bothersome. Every so often, most people with herpes have outbreaks so mild that nothing at all is detected. This no symptoms / no signs recurrence on the skin is called asymptomatic shedding – a period of virus reactivation so mild that sores are not detected. A swab taken from the affected area at that time and sent to the laboratory, though, would show that herpes is actively growing on the skin. Thus, it is possible to transmit herpes even though you cannot see a lesion. New data show that suppressive use of antiviral medication – taken continuously twice a day – may reduce the risk of asymptomatic shedding by about 80 percent. Even though asymptomatic shedding occurs less than 5 percent of the time, a person with herpes who is partnered with someone who does not have herpes can take one additional and very effective step toward reducing the risk of transmission: safer sex practices.

The consistent use of latex condoms to prevent direct skin contact during the latent state markedly reduces the chance that an unrecognized recurrence might lead to transmission. In addition, people with herpes should get to know the facts about herpes, so that they can inform their partners assertively and comfortably and be able to explain the risks. Limiting contact to others who have the same infection would accomplish nothing. Furthermore, celibacy would do the world no favor. Indeed, in the long run these extreme measures would do a great deal of harm, both to individuals with herpes and to society at large.

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