Anal herpes is a sexually transmitted disease that causes painful sores and blisters to appear around the anus. This can occur with either HSV-1 or HSV-2 infections. Symptoms are similar to those of hemorrhoids and syphilis, making it difficult to diagnose.
While herpes cannot be cured, antiviral medications can greatly reduce symptoms and their frequency. Practicing safe sex by using condoms and dental dams can also help.
Anal herpes is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by herpes simplex virus type 2 or type 1 (HSV-1 and HSV-2) that manifests as itchy sores and blisters around the anus. It can be passed to a partner during oral, vaginal or anal sex and through saliva or semen. During sex, the herpes virus may also enter through microscopic breaks in the skin or mucous membranes near the anus. The first outbreak of herpes on the anus can occur weeks, or even years after exposure to the herpes virus.
Once the herpes virus enters the body, it spreads to nerve cells and remains in them for life. The herpes virus can cause recurrent episodes of symptoms, which often appear in the form of painful sores or blisters. The virus can also go dormant for extended periods of time.
If you have herpes, you can still lead a fulfilling sex life by following your healthcare providers’ medical advice, refraining from sex during anal herpes outbreaks, using condoms to avoid skin-to-skin contact, and taking advantage of available antiviral therapies. You can also protect yourself by undergoing regular STI screenings and by practicing safer sex, such as by wearing a condom during oral or anal sex and by using a dental dam for vaginal sex and/or anal sex.
You can also help prevent anal herpes outbreaks by using lubricants, such as lube or gel, during anal, vaginal or oral sex and by using a barrier method of sex such as a condom for anal sex. You can also reduce your risk of contracting anal herpes or transmitting it to a partner by always washing your hands with soap and water and not touching the anus during an outbreak.
Many people do not know that they have herpes in their anus because the blisters can easily be mistaken for a pimple. However, herpes around the anus are usually raised bumps that sting and ooze fluid before they break open to form ulcers.
Herpes is spread through intimate contact that can include anal sex and oral sex. It can also be transmitted when someone without herpes smears their genital region with their bare skin. The herpes virus can stay dormant for years and reactivate when a person is stressed or depressed, causing an outbreak.
During an outbreak, herpes is highly contagious. Herpes can be passed through direct contact with the herpes sores or blisters, or it can be transferred when the infected person urinates or sweats around the area. It can also be spread through kissing or sharing sex toys, even when a person does not have any active anal herpes.
Herpes around the anus can be treated with antiviral medication. These drugs help reduce the length and severity of herpes outbreaks, as well as decrease the likelihood of transmitting herpes to a sexual partner. In severe cases, herpes medications can be delivered intravenously (IV), which allows the drug to bypass the digestive system and be 100% absorbed into the bloodstream. Those who have herpes can still lead fulfilling lives by abstaining from sexual activity during outbreaks, using barrier methods like condoms during anal sex, and receiving regular STI screenings.
As HSV-2 is primarily spread during sex, anal herpes and other forms of the virus are considered sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Even people who do not have any symptoms can still pass the infection to their sexual partners. Herpes is very contagious and can be spread through direct contact with a sore or the skin around the mouth, genitals or anus. People with herpes are able to lead fulfilling and active sex lives by following their healthcare professional’s medical advice, using condoms and dental dams when engaging in oral sex, taking daily antiviral drugs to suppress outbreaks, and avoiding sex during an outbreak.
During the prodrome, or initial stage of an outbreak, an infected person experiences pain and sensitivity around the bum as the herpes blisters begin to form. The blisters usually fill with fluid and ooze, leaving a foul odor. Then, the lesions scab over and dry out over 1 to 4 days.
Since the anal herpes symptoms are similar to several other conditions, it can be difficult for a doctor to diagnose the infection. A blood test or a DNA test called nucleic acid amplification testing can detect the herpes virus. A swab can also be taken from the affected area and analyzed for herpes. These tests are fast, accurate and can be performed at an STD clinic.
When most people think of herpes, they envision genital herpes, which causes painful sores on the vulva and vagina. However, herpes can also affect the anus, which is referred to as anal herpes. While there is no cure for anal herpes, it is possible to minimize outbreaks by using condoms during sexual activity and practicing safe sex. In addition, herpes medication can be used to reduce symptom severity.
Herpes is most contagious when there are active sores on the skin. However, the virus can also “shed” off of the surface of the skin and be transmitted even when there are no visible sores or symptoms. Because herpes can cause similar symptoms to other STIs, it is important that people who have herpes be aware of their symptoms and seek regular testing at an STD clinic.
The herpes virus will live in the nerve cells of the body for life, but will go dormant for long periods of time. Infection can be prevented by using condoms during sex, avoiding contact with sores, and by taking daily herpes medications to suppress the virus. The herpes medications can be taken as pills or via intravenous therapy. The latter option allows the medication to bypass the digestive system and be 100% absorbed into the bloodstream. Talk to a doctor at DrHouse in just 15 minutes to discuss your herpes medication options.