Disclaimer: This information isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You shouldn’t rely on this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.
Herpes happens — and it may happen more often than you think. There are actually eight varieties of the virus, but most people who say they “have herpes” have either Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 (HSV-1) or Herpes Simplex Virus type 2 (HSV-2). And we’re talking about a whole lot of people: almost half of the United States population between the ages of 14-49 has HSV-1 and about 12% of that same group have HSV-2.
The staggering stats may have tipped you off to the fact that there is no preventive vaccine or cure for the herpes virus (if either existed, perhaps fewer people would be infected). Experts have certainly tried to tackle the virus with a vaccine, but they just haven’t found success. There were vaccine iterations that showed promise in animal trials but fell short when it came time to test on humans. The reality is, herpes can present as a way more complex virus in some people versus others, so targeting it with a vaccine isn’t easy or straightforward.
So yes, both genital and oral herpes last for a lifetime, but both are totally manageable. For most people, the virus stays dormant in their bodies and rarely, if ever, causes outbreaks. And if and when outbreaks do occur, there are great treatment options available that work really well for most people. These medications can abort an outbreak or decrease its severity and duration , prevent outbreaks from happening, and even reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others. Your doctor will help you figure out the best options that fit your lifestyle, so hang in there and know that you’re definitely not alone.
Life and relationships aren’t always rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes, we need to have difficult and challenging conversations with our partners. And chances are if you, If or someone you’re intimate with, has genital herpes, you’re searching for answers about living life with genital herpes.