April 2024 Newsletter

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Building a Culture of Consent

New GetTestedChaffee.com Content Alert!

  • We’ve updated our website with a new page focusing on a culture of consent
  • What is consent in terms of sex?
    • Consent is a continuous agreement between partners about what they do and don’t want. It’s a safe, open dialogue about activities you both enjoy and feel comfortable with.
    • In a healthy relationship, you always have the right to set and adjust your boundaries based on what you’re comfortable with in the moment
  • Watch this cool little video to learn more: What is Consent?
  • Or take this consent in a relationship quiz!

 

All About Herpes: What is it and should I be worried?

Recently the nurses at Public Health have gotten numerous questions surrounding what many people call herpes, and we want to spread what we know! No pun intended 😉

There are different forms of herpes

Genital herpes is an STI caused by two types of viruses, herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2).

HSV-1 is the type of virus that causes oral herpes, AKA cold sores or fever blisters on or around the mouth. Most people have this type of herpes in their body without having any symptoms at all. In fact, most who have HSV-1 got it when they were a child or young adult. HSV-2 is the sexually transmitted form of the virus that is spread by contact with genitals or anal surfaces, skin, sores, or fluids if someone is infected with the virus. HSV-2 can be transmitted (spread) even if the skin looks normal.

HSV-1 or oral herpes can spread from the mouth to the genitals through oral sex. After is spreads to the genitals, it’s called genital herpes. There is currently no cure for HSV-1 or HSV-2. But you can take medicine that makes outbreaks shorter and less painful, and can help prevent outbreaks in the future.

What are the most common symptoms of genital herpes?

  • Group of itchy or painful blisters on your vagina, vulva, cervix, anus, penis, scrotum, butt, or the inside of your thighs. The blisters break and turn into sores
  • Burning when you pee if your urine touches the herpes sore
  • Having trouble peeing because the sores and swelling are blocking your urethra
  • Itching
  • Pain around your genitals
  • If your genital herpes is caused by HSV-2, you might also have flu-like symptoms:
    • Swollen glands in your pelvic area, throat, and under your arms
    • Fever, chills, headache, feeling achy and tired
  • You might notice some warning signs a few hours or days before outbreaks flare up, like itching, burning, or a tingly feeling on your genitals or around your mouth.

What is an outbreak and what should I expect?

  • They are a group of itchy or painful red bumps that turn into blisters.
  • The first herpes outbreak lasts about 2 to 4 weeks. Even though the blisters go away, the virus stays in your body and can cause sores again
  • Herpes outbreaks are not fun, but the first one is usually the worst. Repeat outbreaks are usually shorter and less painful. Most people with herpes get fewer outbreaks as time goes on, and some stop having them altogether.

How else can I get genital herpes?

Well, like other sexually transmitted infections, you can get genital herpes by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the infection. You can get herpes if you have contact with:

  • A herpes sore
  • Saliva from a partner with an oral herpes infection
  • Genital fluids from a partner with a genital herpes infection
  • Skin in the oral area of a partner with oral herpes
  • Skin in the genital area of a partner with genital herpes

You cannot get herpes from toilet seats, bedding, or swimming pools. No herpes from touching object like silverware, soap or towels

How do we prevent genital herpes?

The only true way to completely avoid herpes is to just not have sex. We know that this is not practical, so here are a few other ways to lower our risk of contracting genital herpes:

  • Using a condom correctly. However, many times herpes sores occur in areas that a condom can’t cover. So, check your genital, anal and oral areas and then proceed to check your partners genital, anal, and oral areas prior to making contact or kissing!
  • You or your partner can take an anti-herpes medication as a prophylaxis. However, you would need to speak with your health care provider for this route.
  • Avoid having vaginal, anal, or oral sex when your partner has herpes symptoms and/or an outbreak.

Can you get tested for herpes?

Don’t play the blame game! As mentioned before, it’s very hard to determine where someone might have gotten herpes, and someone can have the virus living in their body for years without even knowing that they have it. It’s best to have open conversations with your partner(s), and do what you can to protect yourself and others.

 

If you have any questions you can contact one of the Public Health nurses by calling (719) 539-4510.

 

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