United Against the “Big Bad H” & Exploring Herpes Treatment in Malaysia

Herpes treatment in Malaysia

Although herpes is one of the most common STIs in the world, it’s still very much a taboo health condition.

Perhaps it’s the stigma that makes herpes uniquely devastating to be on the receiving end of or maybe it’s its permanency. 

But whatever it is, it’s apparent that herpes carries a unique psychological burden, made worse by the fact that many of us refuse to talk about it. So, let’s talk about it.

What is herpes? How do you get it and what are the Herpes treatment options in Malaysia?

Read as we answer all your questions about this STI.


The Herpes Stigma

Psychologists believe this stigma exists for two reasons:

  1. Genital herpes is known as a sexually transmitted infection.
  2. Herpes does not have a cure. 


Perhaps a stigma around herpes exists because many people assume it’s dangerous. Is herpes dangerous or life-threatening?

In most cases, no. Herpes is not deadly and it usually doesn’t lead to any serious health problems.


However, herpes is dangerous for pregnant women. A pregnant woman who contracts genital herpes or has an outbreak during pregnancy puts the baby at great risk of premature birth or a life-threatening infection

Herpes can also cause significant complications in people who don’t have a fully functioning immune system. If you are interested to know more about Herpes Simplex complications, click on this link to read our previous article about Herpes Simplex.


Types Of Herpes

There are two main types of herpes: the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and the herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Contracting these viruses leads to an oral outbreak (cold sores, or oral herpes) or a genital outbreak (genital herpes), respectively.


HSV-1 is a common cause of oral cold sores, and it’s by far the most common form of herpes. The World Health Organization estimates that about 67% of people under age 50 have HSV-1. That’s about 3.7 billion people worldwide!

Genital herpes is most often caused by HSV-2, though it can be caused by genital contact with HSV-1. Though it’s less prevalent than oral herpes, genital herpes still affects at least 417 million people. 

Genital herpes is considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI) because it’s mainly spread through close sexual contact.


More than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 suffer from the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), usually after catching it in childhood, according to the WHO study.

That is in addition to 417 million people in the 17-49 age range who have the other form of the disease, HSV-2, which causes genital herpes.


The prevalence of Herpes in Malaysia is generally lower than in Western countries because of our culture.

But the numbers are rising as young adults are exposed to sexual activity at an early age.


How is HSV Contracted?

Both types of the virus are passed on via skin-to-skin contact, whether that be by kissing, oral sex or anal sex.

Herpes transmission most commonly happens when there are visible sores (such as cold sores on the lips, or blisters/ulcers on the genital area) but it can also happen when there are no visible symptoms at all.


Can cold sores cause genital herpes?

HSV-1 (oral herpes) is usually passed on via mouth-to-mouth contact such as kissing, and genital herpes is usually passed during sexual intercourse or other sexual activities involving skin-to-skin contact of infected areas.

However, you might be surprised to hear that HSV-1 can also cause genital herpes. So, if someone with a cold sore performs oral sex on you, it could result in transmission of herpes.


Can you get herpes from kissing?

The simple answer is ‘yes’. Oral herpes transmission can occur during kissing or any contact of the mouth to the skin. It doesn’t matter if it’s a quick peck on the cheek or a full-blown pash, the risk of passing on herpes is there.


Can you get herpes from surfaces?

You can’t get herpes from things like toilet seats, swimming pools, hot tubs or hugging. 

However, oral herpes can be passed on through sharing saliva, so it’s advised not to share drinks/utensils etc with someone who has HSV-1, especially if they have visible cold sores.


How To Minimize Herpes Transmission

Like all STIs, the best way to protect yourself and others from herpes is to practise safe sex.

  • Use condoms for anal sex, dental dams for rimming, and gloves for arse play. They won’t offer full protection as the skin around the area can also carry the infection but they offer an effective measure to prevent transmission.
  • If you aren’t using condoms for oral and anal sex, make sure to keep up with HIV & STI testing once every 3 months and avoid hooking up with someone if you suspect you might be having a herpes outbreak.
  • If you have herpes, avoid any sexual contact during an outbreak as this is when the virus is most transmissible


The Herpes Simplex Family

Here’s an interesting fact, Herpes Simplex Virus comes in even more strains and variants.

  • Herpetic keratitis is an infection of the cornea, the transparent front part of the eye, caused by the herpes simplex virus. While the herpes simplex virus that affects the genitals is type 2, the type that affects the eyes and mouth is type 1. 


  • Herpetic whitlow is a painful infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). It forms when a type of HSV enters the skin around the finger, leading to redness, soreness, and fluid-filled blisters.


  • Herpes gladiatorum is also known as mat herpes because it is most often found in wrestlers. This virus also causes cold sores, or fever blisters, on the lips. Herpes gladiatorum infections are common in athletes who play contact sports. 


Dealing with Herpes: Psychological Impact and Coping Strategies

Herpes may raise strong emotional issues, especially in the first few weeks or months after a diagnosis. Some people initially feel embarrassment, shame, anger, or depression. Why does such a common virus have the power to affect us? 

The major reason seems to be the fact that genital herpes is sexually transmitted. Growing up in our society, most of us come to view a sexually transmitted disease as a stigma.


What can you do to speed up the process of adjusting to herpes? Keep in mind the following:

  • Counselling
  • Support groups
  • Online forums


Universal Clinic can help you emotionally adjust to herpes by providing the necessary support from consultation, and timely diagnosis to treatment and follow-up care.


Treating HSV and The Future

Clinical trials are underway to search for an effective treatment. A new drug called Pritelivir is currently undergoing clinical trials as a treatment for herpes symptoms.


Scientists are currently studying potential vaccines in their search for a cure for herpes. 

The researchers expressed hope that current developments of the mRNA vaccines due to COVID-19 may help in finding a solution sooner.


We here at Universal Clinic have special treatment regimens to prevent herpes outbreaks such as suppression therapy with antiviral and preventive treatment with UC Lysine which is a tailor-made supplement to combat Herpes.


The Final Take-Home Message

Patients with herpes generally can lead a fulfilling and normal life. Most of them are able to have successful long-term relationships with their partners. 

They are able to have family and children uneventfully. Herpes is a virus that does not generally damage your health. The symptom outbreaks do go away with or without treatment and overtime the flare ups get less frequent.

Breaking the stigma surrounding HSV-2 requires a collective effort to educate, understand and support. It starts with dispelling myths and misconceptions and continues with fostering a compassionate dialogue. 


If you’re experiencing symptoms of herpes or are just curious about your genital health, Universal Clinic is ready to listen and help with both the physical and emotional aspects of herpes and other health conditions.


Drop us a message here today!

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