Genital herpes is an incurable sexually transmitted disease caused by the herpes simplex virus. Generally, HSV-1 affects the mouth, and HSV-2 is the one that causes genital herpes. However, both types can be transmitted from one area to the other during oral sex.
Genital herpes is most often spread through sex with an infected person. Additionally, it is possible to contract genital herpes from other close skin-on-skin contact. Transmission generally happens during:
It is also possible for pregnant women to pass the infection on to their baby during childbirth.
Genital herpes does not generally cause other problems. However, it does increase your risk of contracting other STDs including HIV. Act immediately and get tested today!Get tested for STDs today
Symptoms make take upto a month or longer to appear after infection.
Symptoms of genital herpes vary greatly from one person to another. Some people may not even be aware that they have herpes because their symptoms are not really noticeable. Symptoms that may be noticed are:
Genital herpes is characterized by the breakout of ulcers in the genital area. If symptoms do appear, the first episode of herpes symptoms (called primary outbreak) is usually severe. Majority of the persons who suffer primary outbreak will have further symptom outbreaks. The virus can also re-activate with no further outbreaks. When this happens, the virus can still be transmitted through non-visible sores.
However, most infected persons aren’t aware they have genital herpes – they mistake the symptoms for insect bites or they don’t manifest any noticeable symptoms at all. For this reason, it’s important to get regularly tested for HSV if you’re sexually active.
Genital herpes does not generally cause other problems. However, it does increase your risk of contracting other STDs including HIV. Pregnant women who are infected with genital herpes can pass it to their baby and this can lead to severe problems and potentially even death. In patients with weakened immune systems it can also lead to herpes of the eyes which may eventually result in blindness.
Sexual partners can easily contract genital herpes even when you appear to be symptom free. They should be encouraged to be tested. Additionally, in order to protect your partner from infection, be sure to use your anti-viral drugs every day.
While in the midst of an outbreak, avoid contact with the affected area as much as possible and be sure to wash your hands after touching it. Do not have sex until you are completely clear of symptoms. Additionally, your doctor may recommend an antiviral medication:
These medications help to control your symptoms and prevent recurrences. Additionally, they provide some measure of protection for your sexual partners.
The initial outbreak of genital herpes can last over 20 days. However, recovery from subsequent outbreaks is usually quicker.
If you are in the midst of an outbreak, avoid sex, and be sure to correctly use latex condoms at all other times
Recurrences of genital herpes are generally milder than the initial outbreak, and the frequency of outbreaks tends to decrease over time (average is roughly 4 per year). Symptoms during recurrence can be so mild that an infected person is unaware that they are even having an outbreak. Sores tend to be much smaller, if visible at all. Itching and burning are not uncommon during a recurrence but are usually less severe than with the initial outbreak.
No. Viruses don't have cures, but symptoms can be controlled with proper treatment.
Viral. Caused by the herpes simplex virus.
Antiviral Medicine. Symptoms are treated with antiviral medications (Zovirax, Famvir, or Valtrex), however there is no cure.
1 month or longer. The symptoms from the initial outbreak can take over 20 days to disappear.
Yes. During your initial outbreak, you should refrain from sex until all symptoms are gone.
Yes. Once you get infected, you will have the virus for life.
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