Unfortunately, herpes can cause some additional health complications. Luckily, with treatment such as daily suppressive therapy, these can be greatly minimized. Most of the associated issues have to do with pregnancy and infections to newborns. Here are just a few things to be aware of:
—Genital HSV can lead to potentially fatal infections in babies.
—It is important that women avoid contracting herpes during pregnancy because a new infection during late pregnancy has a bigger risk of transmission to the baby.
—If a woman has active genital herpes at delivery, a cesarean delivery is usually performed.
—Fortunately, infection of a baby from a woman with herpes infection is rare.
Additionally, physicians are now well-prepared in how to manage deliveries of babies from women who have genital herpes. Medications like Valtrex - a common suppressive drug for herpes, usually taken daily - are generally fine to take while pregnant, helping to prevent an outbreak before delivery and allowing the woman to deliver vaginally.
It’s important to remember that herpes may also play a role in the spread of HIV. Herpes can make people more at risk for HIV infection, and it can make HIV-infected individuals more infectious to other people. Remember to get regularly tested and always wear condoms to minimize these additional risks.