Asymptomatic Shedding

The herpes virus can be a nerve racking to say the least.  The virus stays in the nerve cells of a person infected with the virus.  There are times when the virus will move up the nerve to the skins surface.  This is called “viral Shedding”.  When shedding happens the virus can be given to other people by contact with the skin.  This happens much easier during anal, oral or vaginal sex.  When shedding happens, you will sometimes see blisters, but other times there will be no noticeable lesions at all.  This type of shedding is called asymptomatic sheddingasymptomatic shedding

Because the person is not feeling any symptoms during this type of shedding, it is almost impossible to tell when they are spreading the virus to others.  So as you can guess, almost 70 to 80 percent of all herpes transmissions happen during these periods.

Because asymptomatic shedding is impossible to see, how often it occurs will probably never be known. It is known that both shedding with lesions and without occur about 30 percent of the days in the first 6 months after your initial infection.  After the six months it only happens  about 10-15 percent of the time.

Other studies have found that half of asymptomatic shedding happens within seven days before and after a major outbreak.   These studies have also shown that the outbreaks are highly variable and shedding is probably different for every person.  But no matter how often it happens, every person that is carrying the virus will have episodes of shedding.

Even though you cannot track how contagious you are, there are medications that can help reduce shedding.  This will help you reduce the risk of spreading the herpes virus.  There are blood tests that can be taken also.

Most people are unaware that they are infected.  There have been studies done in clinics that have shown over sixty percent of women who are infected with the virus have never had an outbreak.  So are these women contagious? No one can really answer that question.

Asymptomatic or viral shedding is very hard to determine, but some people can tell when they are going to have an outbreak.  They do not feel well, kind of edgy and get a itchy sensation right before it happens.

The only answer you can give someone who wants to know if they should be having sex is to make sure you are having safe sex.  And to discuss this with your partner so they know the risks.  There are many other infections that do not always show symptoms either.

2 Responses to “Asymptomatic Shedding”

  1. Doug L says:

    So the only way to really know if you have herpes is to go get tested?? I have never had an outbreak, or any symptoms what ever. But I have had cold sores, so should get tested??

    • Randi says:

      No, you do not need to be tested. Over 80% of the population of the world has herpes simplex 1. The big problem is herpes simplex 2 or genital herpes. Check my site for more information concerning both of these herpes virus’s. I am going to be putting up a page soon on the different types of herpes and how people are affected by them. Thanks for the question.

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