STD Myth Exposed: I Will Know If I Have Herpes


Many people are under the impression that if they become infected with genital herpes (HSV) it will be obvious to them. The truth about herpes is that signs or symptoms may never present themselves. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people with genital herpes do not display physical symptoms but can still spread the virus to their sexual partners.

The symptoms of herpes can be very subtle or they can be very intense. It is different from person to person. People may suffer from sores that appear as one or more blisters around the genitals, mouth or anus. These sores can sometimes take weeks to heal. The period of time in which these sores appear is known as an outbreak. A person experiencing an outbreak for the first time may also have fever, body aches or swollen glands. It is common to have repeat outbreaks of genital herpes although repeat outbreaks are usually shorter and less severe.

Even if you are not having an outbreak, it is still possible to spread the virus. Once the herpes virus has entered your system, it is always there. You will carry the virus for the rest of your life. Additionally, condoms do not always offer full protection from HSV. Herpes is spread through skin-to-skin contact. Any part of the genitals that is exposed during intercourse runs the risk of viral transmission.

Often the symptoms of herpes infection can be dismissed by a person for other conditions. This is why it is important to know the current status of your sexual health. Herpes testing is not always guaranteed when having regular STD testing. Sometimes, a patient must request this test from their doctor. At, herpes testing is performed through blood collection.

Remember that you or your partner may have been carrying the infection for some time without realizing it. Without regular testing, it can be years before a person realizes they have genital herpes. This can often put you or your partner at risk for spreading the virus unknowingly. Aside from regular testing, you should help protect yourself and your partner by communicating your sexual health status and history to one another. This can be a highly valuable way to prevent the spread of this STD. In some states, it is even required by law that person notify their partners if they knowingly have herpes.

It is true that certain behaviors and multiple partners can put you at higher risk for an herpes but all sexually active people are vulnerable to infection. It is a great idea to communicate with anyone you have sexual intercourse with in order to better protect yourself. The best way to know whether or not you have an STD is to have STD testing performed. All people, young and old, who are sexually active should be aware of their current sexual health status.


1 CDC – Herpes Basics
2 Top 10 Herpes Myths That Are Totally False
3 Herpes Simplex

Article by Robert Francis Curtis

Robert studied at Columbia College Chicago. He has worked as a Care Adviser here at Analyte Health for a while and looks forward to spreading more information about sexual health.