Can You Donate Blood If You Have Herpes?
You may or may not want to donate blood if you have herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). There are many benefits to getting tested for HSV-1 before donating. Most importantly, testing will allow your doctor to make sure there aren’t any hidden infections causing problems with your body. Your doctor can then prescribe medication that could prevent future outbreaks from occurring.
The other benefit of having the test done is that it will let your doctor know if you’re at risk for transmitting herpes to others. That way they’ll be able to advise you on what medications you need to take so that they don’t pass along the infection. If someone else gets infected with herpes, your doctor can tell them which medication(s) to take and whether or not they should stop taking certain ones.
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t get tested for HSV-
1. But if you decide against it, there are still some things you can do to protect yourself.
Here are some tips:
Know What Type of Herpes You Have Before Getting Tested For It!
Herpes simplex viruses (HSVs) cause cold sores and genital warts. The two types of this virus are known as HSV-1 and HSV-
2. If you’re reading this then you’re most likely wondering about getting tested for genital herpes, which is the most common type.
This type normally causes sores around the genitals or rectum. It’s important to know you can catch it in other places too, such as the thighs or buttocks. You can also get it in the facial area, which is how it got its nickname: cold sores.
Nowadays, many medical professionals will test for both types of the virus. If you’ve never had an outbreak before, then it’s possible to get a false negative. That means the test won’t show a positive result even if you are infected. Even if you come back with a positive result though, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to develop symptoms in the future.
See a doctor if you’re concerned about your risk of infection or want to know more about the testing process.
Be Cautious When it Comes to New Partners
It’s important that you take steps to avoid getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI). One of the ways you can do this is by only having safe (also known as protected) sexual encounters with new partners. That means using condoms every time you have vaginal, mouth or rectal contact with another person. It’s also a good idea to get tested on a regular basis at your local clinic or doctor’s office.
Do you know the symptoms of genital herpes?
You probably already know about the common symptoms of getting cold sores. They usually start off as a tingling, burning or itching feeling around your mouth. This is followed by a small blister or group of blisters that later become fluid-filled sores. These sores then crust over and heal within about 10 days. You may also experience headache, swollen glands or a general sick feeling while you have an outbreak. The virus is highly contagious and you can easily pass it on through direct skin-to-skin contact.
The good news is that most people with herpes don’t have regular outbreaks after a few months or even years of having them. That means even if you do get the virus, you may not experience any symptoms ever again after your first outbreak. Still, these symptoms are pretty serious and can be a big turn off for potential partners.
What are the common treatments for genital herpes?
Once you know that you have genital herpes, your doctor is going to prescribe a medicine to help relieve your symptoms. Valacyclovir and Acyclovir are two of the most commonly used medicines for this purpose. They’re both antiviral drugs known as HSV inhibitors. These drugs can help keep your herpes virus from spreading to other parts of your body. They can also make your outbreaks less painful and help you feel more energetic. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for the virus yet and these medicines need to be taken on a daily basis.
Another common treatment is known as “counseling.” This is especially important if you find out that you’ve passed the virus on to another person. It’s also a good idea to tell any current or future partner that you have genital herpes. Many people develop psychological issues related to this virus.
They can feel depressed, anxious or even suicidal as a result of the diagnosis. It’s important that you seek help dealing with these emotions if you or someone you know is diagnosed.
Take Control of Your Genital Herpes
Once you’ve been diagnosed, it’s time to take control of the situation. The first thing you should do is inform any current or future partner about your herpes status. Remember to be completely honest. The more people you tell, the more people can help you stop the spread of this virus.
Even if a potential partner balks at the idea of having sexual contact with you, you’ll know right away rather than discovering later that they’ve spread it to someone else.
Sources & references used in this article:
Antibody to herpes simplex virus type 2 as serological marker of sexual lifestyle in populations by FM Cowan, AM Johnson, R Ashley, L Corey, A Mindel – Bmj, 1994 – bmj.com
Transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) by blood transfusions screened as negative for HIV antibody by JW Ward, SD Holmberg, JR Allen… – … England Journal of …, 1988 – Mass Medical Soc
Does offering human immunodeficiency virus testing at the time of blood donation reduce transfusion transmission risk and increase disclosure counseling? Results of … by TT Goncalez, PF Blatyta, FM Santos, S Montebello… – …, 2015 – Wiley Online Library
Human immunodeficiency virus test‐seeking blood donors in a large blood bank in São Paulo, Brazil by T Goncalez, E Sabino, N Sales, YH Chen… – …, 2010 – Wiley Online Library
Knowledge, attitudes and motivations among blood donors in Sao Paulo, Brazil by TT Goncalez, EC Sabino, S Chen, NA Salles… – AIDS and Behavior, 2008 – Springer
Herpes simplex virus type 1 infection: a sexually transmitted infection of adolescence? by FM Cowan, A Copas, AM Johnson, R Ashley… – Sexually transmitted …, 2002 – sti.bmj.com