"I have always thought that the bumps I got on my lips were pimples since I get black heads above my upper lip. Recently though, I've had a red bump forming on my lip that doesn't feel "pimple-like" and am now terrified. My mom says I probably kissed a guy who has herpes and now I have it for life. I haven't been tested by a doctor yet but I feel like she is right since I had heard a rumor that one of my ex's found out he has oral herpes. I'm 18 years old and feel horrible about myself and wonder if I should even continue dating. I know a large number of the population has it (my aunt has it from giving mouth to mouth to a woman who had been drowning) but I still feel dirty and don't know what to do. Is it possible for the virus to go into remission or a treatment to help?"
Yes, there are options for suppressive therapy to prevent recurrences of oral or genital lesions from Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV type I and II). First you need to have a diagnosis. See your doctor when you have an active sore and have him or her culture it to see if this is Herpes. The gold standard for diagnosis is a culture of a new, active sore.
If Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) is the cause of your recurrent lip sores you do have an option of treatment with an antiviral for prevention of outbreaks.
Chronic suppression with a daily antiviral medication has proven helpful in preventing HSV lesions in individuals with frequently recurrent lesions. Controlled trials show a decrease in occurrence of new lesions from 50 to 78 percent in people on a regimen of oral acyclovir (600 to 1000 mg daily). A daily suppressive regimen (200 mg three to five times daily) has been shown to be safe and effective when used continuously for up to one year.
What I usually prescribe is Valtrex (Valacyclovir) which is now generic and works well to suppress recurrences of mouth sores from herpes. Valacyclovir 500 mg a day is easier to take then Acyclovir which requires three times a day dosing. You can discuss with your Doctor taking chronic suppression of Valacyclovir 500 mg a day if your recurrences are very frequent, more than two every four months of if recurrences interrupt job performance or present increased risk of infection for others e.g. medical and dental personnel.
Most importantly, herpes in the mouth and genital region is very very common yet not trivial as you have experienced. Yes, you will deal with this your whole life but there is no reason for shame and please reach out to others on this site in the same boat.
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