Herpes I is from the herpes simplex virus family and causes sores around the mouth and lips which are sometimes called fever blisters or cold sores. This virus is likely to reoccur more often than herpes II and is transmitted through oral sex. Herpes I can sometimes cause genital sores as well.
How common is herpes I
More than 90% of the population is positive for herpes I but many people don’t know they are positive, because most people with herpes do not have outbreaks. The average rate of recurrence is four to five times in the first two years after being infected.
How is herpes I passed on?
Herpes I is very contagious and is transmitted through the direct contact between the contagious area and broken skin via salvia.
If you or your partner has herpes I in the form of sores or cuts around the mouth, genitals or anus, there is an increased risk of passing it onto your partner through oral sex. This is because the herpes I virus travels in salvia and can infect your partners through breakages in your skin.
What are the complications of herpes I?
Herpes usually does not lead to complications. Although, outbreaks are common and can be painful, they are more-so in individuals with a weak immune system. It can also infect the eyes, which left untreated can lead to loss of vision. Herpes I can cause a higher risk of miscarriage, as well as premature labour. It is also possible for herpes I to be passed onto a baby during delivery. Herpes I in babies can be very serious.
What is the difference between herpes I and herpes II?
Herpes Type I usually causes small, painful blisters on the lips, mouth, gums or skin around the mouth, commonly known as cold sores. Herpes II causes painful blisters on the genitals and surrounding areas. Although both highly contagious, type I and II are different strains of the virus within the same family.
Symptoms of herpes I
The main symptom of the virus is the appearance of a blister / multiple blisters around the affected area, most commonly, the mouth. The blisters will break and leave tender sores behind. Before the blister appears, there may be tingling or burning of the affected area.
Some people may feel unwell with a fever, aches, pains and headache, or swollen gums, but this is most common in the initial stage of infection: subsequent attacks tend to present with only the characteristic blisters.
The cycle of the Herpes Simplex Virus
Once you have become infected with Herpes Simplex Virus, the following cycle will occur.
1. Inflammation – the infected area will become swollen and red, and some people may experience tingles.
2. Blisters – blisters will rise up from the infected area. These will be filled with fluid.
3. Ulcers – after the blisters have appeared, the skin will eventually break. Small wet looking ulcers will appear leak white or clear fluid.
4. Crusting – the is is the start of the healing process. The blisters and ulcers will turn into scabs. When the scabs have cleared, this episode of herpes is past. However, the virus still remains in the body and it will reoccur.
How long does it take for symptoms of herpes I to appear?
Symptoms do not usually appear as soon as you are infected. It may take months or even years for the outbreak of herpes I to appear. It usually takes between 2 to 20 days before any outbreaks develop.
What happens if herpes I is left untreated?
Once you have the HSV-1 virus it will remain in your body for life. It will lie dormant for periods of time in the nerve cells. However, certain triggers such as illness, fatigue, stress, immunosuppression, trauma or menstruation can reactivate the virus, causing new sores to appear.
Can I be cured of herpes I?
Currently there is no cure for herpes I, however the virus in the form of cold sores on the lips or around the mouth may clear within 7-10 days without treatment. Treatments are available over the counter to lessen the symptoms and decrease the frequency of outbreaks but HSV-1 cannot be cured.
How often do you need to test for herpes I?
Herpes I may not always display symptoms. It can therefore be difficult to know if you are infected. It is a good idea to have regular screening if you are sexually active. A comprehensive STI screen is recommended once a year or with every change of sexual partner.
Who is at risk of herpes I?
The herpes virus causes cold sores and anyone can catch these, even if you are not sexually active. However, sores found in the genital area are sexually transmitted. Herpes I is transmitted via saliva, therefore can be passed on via oral sex. In order to reduce the risk of Herpes I, practice safe sex by using a condom every time you have sex, including oral sex. You are only protected as long as the sores are covered by a condom, if there is skin contact with an open sore, the infection can be passed on.
Where can I get a test for herpes I?
Confidante tests for 10 STIs at the same time, including Herpes I. Confidante is available to buy securely online here or you can find your nearest stockist to buy in store.
How reliable is the herpes I test?
Herpes I is included as one of the ten STIs that Confidante tests for simultaneously. Analysis of your sample is carried out in a fully accredited laboratory. Confidante is a cutting-edge testing procedure that uses molecular diagnostics that far exceed other STI tests currently available. The test screens for multiple STI pathogens to identify specific viral, protozoan or bacterial pathogens.
How is herpes I treated?
There is no cure for Herpes I, but by using antiviral medicines, the symptoms can be controlled. You should abstain from sex until all symptoms have cleared and ensure to use a condom each time you have sex after. If your results are positive, contact your GP for treatment.
What are the benefits of home testing?
Home testing avoids the inconvenience or embarrassment of attending a GUM or sexual health clinic for STI screening. With Confidante you can easily buy the kit online or at your nearest stockist. When purchasing online, the kit will be delivered to your chosen address in a discreet, plain package. You can take the test at a time and place that suits you in the privacy of your own home with no worries about having to discuss your sexual practices or details with a doctor or nurse.
Buy our herpes I test
By using Confidante you can achieve peace of mind, knowing that you have screened for 10 of the most common STIs. It is possible for more than one infection to exist at the same time. If you think you have Herpes I, it is beneficial to screen for other STIs at the same time.
Confidante tests for all of the following STIs from one sample:
Herpes simplex virus I
Herpes simplex virus II
Treponema pallidum (Syphilis) *
Haemophilus ducreyi (chancroid)
* Syphilis is most accurately detected using a swab from a blister or a sore. Not all Syphilis infections can be detected in a urine sample.
By using Confidante you can achieve peace of mind, knowing that you have screened for 10 of the most common STIs. It is possible for more than one infection to exist at the same time. If you think you have herpes I, it is beneficial to screen for other STIs at the same time.
Did you know?
Herpes can be transmitted even with no symptoms present
At least 8 out of 10 people who carry the herpes simplex virus do not know they have it as there are no or very few symptoms
Confidentiality and privacy is top priority and Confidante ensures this via:
Discreet packaging – no indication as to the contents
Self-addressed return envelope for returning sample
Your results are never shared with any third party
Choose to view results securely online or via phone, email or post
Not all STIs show symptoms, so it is possible to have an STI and not be aware of it. In addition to this, many STIs can co-exist – meaning it is possible to have more than one STI at the same time. A single STI test will detect just that one specific infection and will therefore not detect any additional infections that may be present. Confidante tests for 10 STIs from a single sample, providing a complete profile of your sexual health so you can really put your mind at ease.