How party dips can give you herpes

It’s usually not a party until the chips and dip rock up.

But, a new investigation has revealed that these tasty party treats can be hiding some very dangerous bacteria.

Norovirus, streptococcus – which gives you a sore throat – and herpes simplex – the cold sore virus, could all be lurking in your favourite dips.


The investigation revealed that if as little as one partygoer commits the ultimate party foul of ‘double dipping’, for the bacteria multiplying.

Microbiologists revealed on Monday’s episode of Food Unwrapped on Channel 4 that thousands of organisms live in the tiniest amount of saliva.

This means if someone double dips, the bacteria can transfer and multiply.

The experts also revealed the one crowd favourite that transfers the most bacteria.

Testing popular dips like taramasalata, houmous, and sour cream, it was revealed that the ‘runnier’ the dip, the easier is is for bacteria to multiply.

Matt Tebbutt, co-presenter of Food Unwrapped, double-dipped chips into all three dips and in just two hours, there was more than 100 times more bacteria in the pot of sour cream than an uncontaminated sample.

Bacteria also grew quickly in taramasalata, where there was 50 times more bacteria.

Tebbutt said, ‘If you are dip sharing, it’s the runniest dips you have to be aware of as they are more likely to drip back into the tub after they have been in your mouth, hence more bacteria.’

Food safety expert Jonathan France also revealed that if someone has a virus such as norovirus, streptococcus, or herpes simplex, you may catch their infection even if only a small amount of their saliva has contaminated a party dip.

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You’ve Never Seen Herpes Like This Before

Herpes is decidedly not amazing. But a new view of its molecular structure might make you say “wow.”

Two teams of scientists, one in China and another in the United States, have released new up-close views of the protein capsule that encompasses herpesvirus DNA, called a capsid. They revealed some of the best images yet of the virus (or of any large virus, for that matter). And it’s an important virus to study.

“A clear understanding of the structure and function of the various proteins of herpesvirus could help guide development of anti-viral agents as well as increase its utility and efficiency as a therapeutic agent for treating tumors,” author Xiangxi Wang from the Chinese Academy of Sciences told Gizmodo.

Below is his team’s new view of the herpes simplex virus 2 structure, along with a single unit of the whole capsid.


The herpes simplex virus 2 capsid, below, and a single unit, above. Graphic: Xiagxi Wang

Viruses are pretty incredible. Somehow, lots of individual protein pieces combine to form a capsule, like the hexagons and pentagons of a soccer ball or the triangles on a twenty sided die. Except in this case, it’s 3,000 or so of the same proteins arranged in a 200-nanometer ball—one of the largest viruses, but still incredibly tiny.

These capsids provide the container in which a virus’s genetic material is stored, which they release order to cause infection. In the case of herpes, that can include the familiar cold sores and genital herpes infections. But other viruses in the Herpesviridae family can cause encephalitis or even cancer.

The two teams of researchers used cryo-EM, or cryo electron microscopy, to take the image, according to a pair of new studies in the journal Science. The Nobel Prize-winning method involves freezing the molecule in such a way that it doesn’t crystallize, then bouncing electrons off of the object to determine its physical structure.

Others have imaged the herpesvirus before, but researchers could image these molecules down to 3.5 angstrom (0.35 nanometer) and 3.1 angstrom resolution—the best so far for a small virus. This revealed the identity of the individual building blocks that make up the proteins, the amino acids. They also found that these proteins aren’t all the same—slight differences could potentially supply some flexibility to the capsule.

As Tufts University researcher Ekaterina E. Heldwein, who was not involved in this study, pointed out in a commentary in the same issue of Science, neither group could resolve the portal by which DNA enters the capsule. Still, she said, these studies will be important for future investigation into the viruses’ structures.

Of course there’s an end goal here, said Wang: Creating drugs that could help treat these viruses.

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6 Things You Need to Know About Herpes Tests, According to Doctors Who Administer Them

In a perfect world, testing for STIs would be as simple as taking an online quiz. You’d plug in your answers, hit submit, and boom: Seconds later, you’d have your outcome. More importantly, the results would be accurate. Unfortunately, in the case of certain sexually transmitted infections — herpes included — securing your status isn’t straightforward. Without a herpes outbreak present (such as a cold sore), it’s extremely difficult to know whether or not you’re HSV-positive, and herpes testing is so flawed and misunderstood that doctors say it leads to unnecessary stress.

Picture this: You’ve started seeing a new partner and you two feel ready to have sex. You tell them you should both go get tested first and they happily agree. (Cheers to open communication.) From there, the two of you have blood tests and ask to be screened for STIs, including both types of herpes: herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), which most commonly causes oral herpes, and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), which most commonly leads to genital herpes.

Neither of you has ever experienced symptoms, so when the test comes back and reveals that you’re herpes-positive, you’re stunned. You’re instantly hit with a minefield of emotions, including shame — no surprise, given the decades of the stigma surrounding herpes and other STIs. But wait: Did you know that most people are positive for HSV-1 and that most are asymptomatic, meaning they have no symptoms?

1. If you have zero symptoms, getting tested won’t help you.

The problem is that blood tests for herpes when no lesions or symptoms are present are often bullshit. I realize that’s a pretty strong word, but after speaking with doctors who have administered these tests, it’s become more and more apparent to me how misunderstood — and in some cases, just plain wrong — the results they give are.

Part of the reason they’re flawed has to do with the fact that most people have been exposed to HSV-1 or oral herpes. “For HSV-1, close to 100 percent of people in the U.S. are antibody-positive because they have been exposed at some point in their lives, though only a percentage of these individuals will actually get cold sores,” says Adam Friedman, the residency program director at the George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences in Washington, D.C. He adds that blood tests can be misleading because they usually don’t detect the herpes virus itself and instead look at the level of antibodies against the virus, which is merely a sign of immune response to it.

2. There are two common blood tests used to identify herpes — and they’re often misleading.

“I had a patient once who underwent this test, which was positive, and was told she has herpes, which to her was devastating and life-altering,” Friedman says. “She burst into tears when I explained the significance or lack thereof with this test, which is very misleading.” There are two common blood tests used to identify herpes: IgG and IgM. The IgM test is still used by some doctors even though it has been denounced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the American Sexual Health Association(ASHA), IgM tests can lead to deceptive results, as well as false assumptions about how and when a person acquired HSV.

And that’s not all: IgM tests fail to accurately distinguish between HSV-1 and HSV-2 antibodies, leading them to provide false-positive results for HSV-2. In other words, if you’ve been exposed to oral herpes (which most people have), results of the IgM test could lead you to believe you’re positive for genital herpes, when in fact you simply have antibodies against HSV-1.

IgG tests, on the other hand, are more accurate but aren’t without their own issues. For instance, ASHA says that while an IgG test can distinguish between HSV-1 and HSV-2, the problem is that the time it takes for IgG antibodies to reach a detectable level varies from person to person. This means that even with accurate results, someone could get a false-negative if they have the test administered too soon after contracting the virus (physicians recommend waiting 12 to 16 weeks after possible exposure).

Aside from the two aforementioned blood tests, there are other FDA-approved gG-based blood tests that can offer accurate results, which the ASHA has broken down in this handy chart. However, the association also points out that these tests can’t determine whether the site of infection is oral or genital, which poses a problem for those who want to know their HSV-1- or HSV-2-specific status.

All of this tells us that sure, there are some currently available blood tests for herpes that can tell you your status — or give you some idea of it — but they’re still far from perfect. And when we’re dealing with an illness that’s highly and widely stigmatized the way herpes has become, most people are looking for airtight answers. This is precisely why so many doctors, as well as the CDC, do not recommend getting tested unless you have the common symptoms associated with herpes, such as itching, burning, or a blister.

3. Doctors don’t advise getting a blood test for herpes without any symptoms.

Hilda Hutcherson, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, is one of those doctors. “I usually don’t do tests for herpes [unless] someone has a lesion or a sore, something I can see, [then] I will do a swab and take it to a culture or check the DNA on the materials I removed,” she says. “If there’s nothing there and I do a blood test and the blood test comes back positive, let’s say it’s positive for type 1, what does that really mean? Most people are positive for type 1.” She adds that someone could be HSV-1-positive and either have or not have genital herpes. The result “doesn’t mean much, and it makes people go crazy.”

Hutcherson’s motto is pretty simple: Why stress yourself over something if you haven’t seen anything — especially when it’s something as common as herpes? “Let’s say they have a blood test come in positive but they’ve never had a lesion. Now what? You may never get a lesion,” she says. It’s for this reason that she recommends people do not get tested for herpes unless they have a visible lesion that can be cultured and sent to a lab. Let’s say you get tested anyway and it comes back positive, despite the fact that you have no symptoms. What do you do?

4. Useful methods include testing an actual lesion.

Keep in mind that there’s no such thing as “safe” sex, only safer sex, which means using protection and being open and honest with your partner. “It can definitely happen,” Friedman says of the chances of transmitting the virus to a partner without a visible outbreak. “It’s called asymptotic shedding [and] there are studies showing that the rates of transmission of HSV-2 are the same for symptomatic and asymptomatic.” He adds that this is why using protection during sexual contact is so important, regardless of what blood tests say. Unfortunately, you can never ensure your risk of transmission will be zero, whether or not you know you have herpes, but using a condom or dental dam will get you closer to it.

Like Hutcherson, Friedman also doesn’t recommend blood tests for herpes in the absence of symptoms. “The tests that are useful involve sampling the actual blister or cold sore,” he says, which can involve smearing scrapes of skin cells from the sore onto a slide, targeting the infected cells. As with some of the blood tests, though, this sampling test still won’t tell you what type of herpes virus is present. A viral culture, on the other hand, will tell you which virus you have, though it takes some time to come back. “Direct fluorescent antibody is by far the best,” Friedman says, “as you can get a result in a matter of hours which can be as useful as a culture.” Not all hospitals have access to this method, however.

5. If you get a positive result, don’t panic. It really doesn’t mean much.

All of this is to say that unless you have symptoms consistent with the herpes virus, why put yourself through the emotional turmoil of getting a blood test that may or may not give you legit results? As Hutcherson notes, if you do get a blood test and it comes back positive but you’re asymptomatic, what does that mean for you if you have nothing to treat? For many, due to the high rate of stigma still surrounding herpes, it can mean feelings of self-contempt, humiliation, and distress, all of which could be avoided if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms.

To recap, while there are some tests for herpes that can prove correct, none are 100 percent perfect, and blood tests are particularly problematic since they can produce false positives and negatives. We also know that the majority of the population has some form of herpes, so IMO it’s a mystery as to why we’re still making a big deal out of it. No one likes blisters or sores, but neither does anyone love having acne, a widespread condition (85 percent of young adults battle it) without the same level of attached shame.

6. The bottom line: Tests for herpes are more worry than they’re worth.

If you do have symptoms, don’t fret: If you know your status, you’re at an advantage in that you can talk with your doctor and find an antiviral drug that works for you. Medication can curtail the severity of your symptoms, as well as the number of outbreaks you get. Additionally, taking an antiviral daily will greatly reduce your chances of transmitting the virus to someone else. In case you missed it, there’s also a very promising new drug for herpes on the horizon, which researchers say could be the most effective one yet.

Take it straight from the pros and don’t put yourself through the stress of a herpes blood test if you don’t need to. And, whether you have symptoms or not, know that you’re not alone if you are herpes-positive.

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Women with Herpes should Know the 6 Symptoms

What’s the first image that comes to mind when you think of herpes?

For doctors, it’s a rose. (Yes, the beautiful flower.)

“The classic description of genital herpes is ‘dew drops on a rose petal,’” says Peter Leone, M.D., an adjunct professor of medicine at the UNC School of Medicine. “You get these little blisters on a red base that hurt—and if you have that, the probability that you have herpes is pretty high.”

The problem is that most people with genital herpes don’t have any symptoms. Herpes is a super-common STD, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one in every six people has it. They just probably don’t know it.

Genital herpes spreads through skin-to-skin contact and is caused by two types of viruses: herpes simplex virus type 1, or HSV-1, and herpes simplex virus type 2, or HSV-2. The kind you have matters because it determines how you’ll be treated.

Herpes isn’t curable, but don’t freak out: It’s totally possible to manage it with the help of antiviral medications or daily suppressive therapy, and yes, you can still have a normal sex life.

Most doctors don’t test for herpes unless a woman is showing symptoms, and since that’s probably not going to happen, it’s one reason why so many people never know they have it.

In the U.S., 87.4 percent (!) of infected 14 to 49 year olds with HSV-2 have never been diagnosed, according to the CDC.

But if you’re curious or worried, stand your ground. “Women have a right to be proactive about this—it’s very easy for clinicians to be dismissive about the concern around herpes,” Leone says. “Don’t take no for an answer if you want to know your status.”

There are the most common herpes symptoms in women:


Well, at least it’s not as obvious as a big zit on your forehead? These tiny blisters don’t always occur, but when they do, there’s a good chance you have genital herpes. Like any miserable pimple, they eventually crust over and scab, says Jennifer Berman, M.D., a co-host on The Doctors. “It’s not necessarily on the genital area—sometimes it’s in the crease of the underwear or closer to the buttock,” she says.


It’ll be all over the affected area: your genitals, butt, or thighs. Tingling is one of the first symptoms of herpes in women, so if you just feel weird down there, take note, says Leone.


“Sometimes women ignore this because they’ve been exercising or wearing yoga pants, and they just assume the itching or irritation is from wearing tight clothing,” Berman says. In reality, that sensation is often a symptom of genital herpes in women.


Blah. About 70 percent of women feel like they have the flu, with a headache, muscle aches, fever, and swollen glands during their first herpes outbreak, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Of course, you might actually just have the flu (congrats?), which is why it’s always good to get checked out.


If you’re spotting between periods, grimacing during sex (never good), or noticing weird-for-you discharge, you might have cervicitis—a fancy way of saying your cervix is inflamed. It’s caused by a number of STDs, including herpes, and will go away when the underlying infection is treated, says Berman.


When pee splashes on a herpes ulcer or blister, it can burn, according to the Mayo Clinic. That’s just not pleasant, so get to a doctor and find out what’s wrong.

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HSV-Dating Review

hsv-dating is our third top choice from many herpes dating sites that we have reviewed and analyzed. It serves singles and partners living with Herpes, linking you with similar people, showing concern towards those living with STDs and offering information for their condition. Join and discover thousands of people with Herpes that you can make friends with.

Payment & Pricing

100% free for basic membership and gold members need to pay the fees and enjoy more service.

Site Features

1. Search profiles posted on the site using the great simple-search function.

2. Send winks to other users to let them know that you’re interested.

3. Read and reply to emails sent using the internal mail system, available to all users of Positive Singles.

4. User Forums – post messages on forums on a variety of topics and read the messages left by other Positive Singles users.

5. Greetings Cards – Send greetings cards online to other users to say “Happy Birthday”, “Get Well” or one of many other sentiments.

6. Pay for Gold membership through check card, credit card or Paypal.

Safety takes plenty of measures to ensure that there is no spam or scam going around on the website in the form of fake profiles. Each profile is thoroughly assessed to meet the criteria before it is activated. Even if some people escape this screening, offending profiles are promptly removed upon receiving complaints.


What is particularly good about is the intuitive search function which allows users to not only perform a standard search using a range of criteria, but also view a set of standard searchable lists including those who have recently viewed your profile, or those members who have indicated that they are ‘interested in’ your profile. We felt that these features were a great addition to a regular search function, as they are likely to throw up a number of helpful and useful results.

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HerpesWoo Review is a private and warm community designed for people living with herpes particularly. This site is ad free- no intrusive pop ups, banners flashing or annoying ads to block members from interacting and enjoying the services available. Perfect for singles with HSV, HPV, HIV and more. One of the most popular on the internet dating services for STD singles. Perfect atmosphere to get back to dating and increase your assurance. Excellent on the internet FAQs and Support. Simple and fast to be a part of – get going directly!

Payment & Pricing

Two kinds of membership this site provides: Standard membership for free and Gold membership users need to pay for:  One month membership costing $29.95;  Three month membership is $59.95; Six month membership is $95.95.

Payments can be made by using Credit Card/Charge Card/Check Card/Debit Card, Paypal, Bank Check / Money Order by postal mail.

Site Features

1. Dating advice and safety tips over more than 150 articles to help you when you’re dating online!

2. Many unique features designed for people living with herpes only, eg: private album, quick exit, live STD counselor etc.

3. Cycle of ‘Featured Members’ allowing every Gold user to appear as the featured user for the day.

4. Astrology – check what your horoscope has to say about your dating strategy and how compatible you are with other members.

5. Check News – Daily STD news updates let you keep up to date with information, treatments and more from the STD community.

6. Create blogs to get to know others a little better and get involved in Internet-blogging, a fantastic new communication craze online.

7. 8. Excellent online FAQs and Great Customer Support.

Protect Your Privacy

Your privacy here will be respected more than other sites. All your personal information can be private and anonymous until you want to take things further. It provides a safe, private and most comfortable place for singles living with Herpes, HPV, HIV/AIDS or other STDs to seek dating and support. No matter what kind of STDs you have, you can feel free to enjoy HSV dating, HPV dating, HIV/Aids dating or any other STD dating. You are not alone!


It’s extremely simple and fast to get started with Herpes Woo, simply complete a fast signing up form and you can get going immediately. Customer information with STD Coordinate are wide, enabling customers to publish an endless amount of pictures to go along with their important research. customers have access to a variety of technological and efficient features, along with a great inner e-mail support and (one of our favorites) a live messenger service.

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PositiveSingles Review

The name is a familiar one in the online herpes dating market and this site has proven to be successful for many people who can now thank the site for introducing them to the love of their lives. This much respected online herpes dating site was founded back in 2001 and ever since this time it has been offering its services to those looking to find similar someone. is the best choice for those who live with Herpes, HPV, HIV or AIDS and are looking for love, friendship or companionship. It is, in fact, much more than just a dating site.

What Makes Positive Singles Top1

If you have HIV, Herpes or any STD you feel discriminated and want to hide yourself – Positive Singles provides the best feature in the complete STD dating industry by making its site completely anonymous and by that also comes the best features of the site like care locations, live dating advisor, treatment tips and more.

Payment & Pricing

There are two kinds of membership at The standard members are free, but gold members need to pay the fees and enjoy more service. A one month membership costing $29.95, saving 25% off the regular price of $39.95. A three month membership is $59.95, saving 50% off the regular price, working out at $19.95 a month. A six month membership is cheaper still and at $95.95, saving 60% off the regular price, working out at $15.95 a month. Payments can be made using credit, debit, charge and check cards, paypal, a bank check or money order by postal mail.

Site Features

1. The best, largest, completely anonymous and most trusted online dating site for STD singles and friends in the world.
2.  A warm-hearted and exclusive community where you can met new friends, partners or potential spouses.
3. Learn about STD medical information and therapies, help and advice.
4.  Read success stories from more than 3000+ couples who have found what they were looking for.
5.  Excellent online FAQs and 24/7 Customer Support.
6.  The price of gold membership at is cheaper than a lot of other sites.
7.  Chat Live – Online live chat with other positive singles using the online live chat function.
8.  ID Verification Service – make sure that everyone you contact are who they say they are using positive singles ID Verification Service.
9.  Directory of STD care locations in the US to help you find a better way to manage your illness.
10.  View Member Videos – check out the amateur videos of other Positive Singles users.
11.  Ask an STD Counselor – Live counselor service so that you can ask questions about anything and get support when you need it.

Privacy Protection

If someone pops up behind you all of a sudden while you are using, you can press the quick “exit” button which redirects you to another site so that your privacy is retained. Yes, you read it right; you don’t have to awkwardly shut down the entire window anymore.
Many sites sell your profile to third party sites, which are an impossible feature here. To take this safety a step further, uses no third party applications or features that may end up rendering you susceptible. All personal information is kept strictly confidential.

Verdict is a most trusted, credible, safe and reliable online herpes dating site for people who live with Herpes, HPV, HIV or AIDS and are looking for love, friendship or companionship. provides all users with the best chance to meet other individuals who live with similar problems in a non-judgmental, non-discriminatory environment where everyone involved can be comfortable to be themselves. Its the best and exclusive community for people with STD.

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