Genital Herpes Myths

There are many myths, and misunderstandings about genital herpes. Let’s get the facts straight.

The following information is according to the information from the Famvir (a prescription antiviral medication taken orally) website.

Myth #1: Herpes causes sores and itching that doesn’t go away.

Fact: Genital herpes may cause symptoms during an outbreak, but it generally goes away after the outbreak. Some people have recurring outbreaks from time to time. Some people have outbreaks with no symptoms at all. Usually, after several years, people experience fewer or no outbreaks.

Myth #2: You can get genital herpes from a toilet seat.

Fact: Genital herpes is a pretty weak virus when exposed to air. There have not been any proven cases of someone getting genital herpes from a toilet seat.

Myth #3: You can never have sex again after being diagnosed.

Fact: You can still have sex, but protection and learning prevention of spreading is important. Also, you shouldn’t have sex at all when you have sores. It can always be contagious, whether you have sores or not, but prevention and treatments can help reduce the risk for your partner.

Myth #4: Genital Herpes can make you sterile.

Fact: Genital herpes can’t make you sterile. Chlamydia, and other sexually transmitted diseases can make you sterile. Your doctor can test you for other STDs.

Myth #5: Oral sores are not associated with genital herpes.

Fact: The Herpes Simplex Virus 1 causes oral sores. If the sores come in contact with someone else, (such as the genitals) it can transmit the virus to them.

Myth #6: You cannot have children, because you will give them the virus.

Fact: You can still have healthy children. If there are sores present at the time of birth, a cesarean section will be performed. If there aren’t any symptoms, then it is likely that there will be no virus present in the birth canal. The most important thing is to talk to your doctor about it immediately upon knowledge of pregnancy.

Myth #7: People who have genital herpes have it because they have had many sexual partners.

Fact: You can get genital herpes from only having one or two sexual partners. Many people (1 in 5 Americans) have genital herpes. However, your risk of contracting any sexually transmitted disease increases with the amount of sexual partners you have had.

Many people have misconceptions about genital herpes. They may have some of the ones listed above, or any number of other misconceptions. Getting educated about the virus is important, but educating others about it may also be important.