Every year, more than 800,000 new people catch herpes in the United States, reports the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As the old saying goes, the truth shall set you free. This virus is incredibly common, and whether you have the virus or know someone who does, knowing the truth can help liberate you, protect your physical and mental health, and help release the stigma that comes with the infection.
1. Stress Makes It Worse
While people can live for years or even decades without showing any herpes symptoms, stress could be the proverbial needle that breaks the camel’s back. Research has shown that stress, which is very prevalent in our modern culture, can reduce the strength of your immune system. This, in turn, can cause an outbreak of the virus, as your immune system can no longer suppress the herpes virus.
Practice healthy ways of managing stress, such as exercise, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and using positive coping mechanisms like yoga, meditation and deep breathing. This can help restore your immune system’s strength and minimize your herpes outbreaks.
2. Herpes Increases Your Risks of HIV
While there is a lot of overblown dangers about herpes (for example, just because you have herpes doesn’t mean you all of a sudden will catch every other STD out there), the HIV risks do go up if you have this virus. That’s because herpes symptoms include sores, and open sores raise your risk of contracting the HIV virus easier.
3. Herpes Can Spread to Other Parts of Your Body
There are different kinds of herpes viruses, such as oral herpes and genital herpes. But the virus itself doesn’t make a distinction between your different body parts. It’s possible that you could catch and “move” the location of your herpes outbreak from skin-to-skin contact.