Everything you ever wanted to know about herpes and were afraid to ask.
Myth 4: I can't have a baby if I have herpes.
This is something many women worry about when they find out they have herpes. Thankfully, it's not true. Many women living with herpes give birth to healthy babies. However, if you have herpes it is important for you to let your healthcare provider know so he or she can monitor you for symptoms. If at the time of your labor you have any sores on your cervix, vagina, or the skin around your vagina, or if you're experiencing symptoms like tingling or burning, your provider will recommend a caesarean section to prevent transmission of the virus to your baby. If you don't have any symptoms, you can safely have a vaginal delivery.
Myth 5: Herpes is something to be ashamed of.
This is the most important myth to bust: While living with herpes can (literally) be a pain, it's incredibly common and nothing to be ashamed of. For more information on this virus, check out the CDC's Fact Sheet about it. For a more personal take on living with an STI — along with resources and support —check out The STD Project, a site founded and run by a woman who's living with herpes.
Grace Shih, MD, MAS, is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. She has a family medicine practice at the San Francisco General Hospital's Family Health Center.
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