Genital Herpes: All you need to know!
by Vishal Kaushik Digital Marketer
Genital herpes refers to an infection of the genital area by the herpes simplex virus. It’s one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the United States, and it can be spread through both vaginal and anal sex, as well as oral sex or skin-to-skin contact with an infected person’s genitals or mouth. If you’re having frequent outbreaks of blisters and sores on your genitals, you might have genital herpes. Learn everything you need to know about this infection in order to get started on treatment and prevention today!
What is genital herpes?
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can cause sores and blisters on the genitals. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). HSV-1 usually causes oral herpes, which can show up as cold sores on the mouth. But it can also cause genital herpes. HSV-2 is the most common cause of genital herpes. It is spread through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex.
However, there are cases where HSV-1 can cause genital herpes. That’s possible when someone has oral herpes and performs oral sex on someone who has genital herpes. In these cases, both people have sores in their mouths that infect each other with opposite strains of HSV-1.
When should I see a doctor?
If you think you might have genital herpes, it's important to see a doctor as soon as possible. There is no cure for genital herpes, but there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms. The sooner you're diagnosed, the sooner you can start treatment and feel better. A doctor will take a swab from your mouth or genitals to test for HSV-1 or HSV-2.
For people with recurring outbreaks, anti-viral medication taken at the first sign of an outbreak may lessen the severity and frequency of future outbreaks. There is also talk about whether or not people with herpes should tell their partner before having sex if they want to avoid transmitting it.
It's very important to talk with your healthcare provider about whether or not you should be tested for herpes. They can help you understand what your test results mean and how often you should get tested for herpes.
What are the different types of HSV?
HSV-1 is usually associated with oral herpes, or cold sores, while HSV-2 is usually associated with genital herpes. However, both types of HSV can infect either area. In addition, HSV-1 can sometimes cause genital herpes, and HSV-2 can sometimes cause cold sores.
The two most common types of herpes are HSV-1 and HSV-2. According to WebMD, around 50 percent of people in developed countries carry HSV-1, usually contracted as a child from nonsexual contact. Up to 90 percent of people in developing countries carry it. As for HSV-2, according to Planned Parenthood, about one out of every six people between 14 and 49 years old has genital herpes.
HSV-1 infection is acquired from skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual through kissing or sharing objects such as toothbrushes or eating utensils. It can also be transmitted by touching a herpes sore and then touching your own eyes, mouth, or genital area. HSV-2 is sexually transmitted during genital contact with someone who has herpes.
The first outbreak of herpes symptoms often occurs within two weeks after contracting it. There may be a tingling sensation followed by small red bumps that fill with fluid and rupture. These blisters break open and leave painful sores that may take several weeks to heal.
Symptoms may reappear throughout life because the virus remains alive in the body. HSV outbreaks typically last two to four weeks, but they may last up to 20 days if left untreated. The frequency of outbreaks decreases over time, but the virus never fully goes away.
How do I prevent transmission?
The best way to prevent transmission is to use a condom every time you have sex. If you are already infected, you can take antiviral medication to help reduce the number of outbreaks. You should also avoid sharing towels, razors, or other personal items with someone who has herpes. If you have any cuts or open sores on your body, make sure to cover them with a bandage. If you have been diagnosed with genital herpes, it's important to tell your partner before having sex. Once they know they will be able to take precautions and protect themselves from infection.
Always talk to your doctor about how to handle sexual contact with others during an outbreak or when it’s not clear if you’re experiencing an outbreak. You should not douche, have oral sex, wear tight clothing that might rub against the virus, scratch the skin near the area where you may have touched the virus (e.g., underpants), share towels or bedding with someone who has genital herpes, and bathe in water hotter than 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius).
What are common symptoms?
The most common symptom of genital herpes is a group of painful or itchy blisters in the genital area. But some people with the virus don’t have any symptoms. Other symptoms can include fever, headache, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes near the groin.
There is no cure for genital herpes, but there are several things you can do to lower your risk of getting infected: always use latex condoms when having sex, abstain from sex if you think you might be at risk for contracting herpes (you may not know if you have an active infection), and avoid contact with those who do show signs of infection.
When should I get tested?
If you have any symptoms of genital herpes, or if you think you may have been exposed to the virus, you should see a healthcare provider right away. A blood test can confirm whether you have the virus. There is no cure for genital herpes, but medication can help manage the symptoms and reduce your risk of transmitting the virus to others. If you have genital herpes, it’s important to practice safe sex and tell your partner(s) about your infection. Avoid contact with active sores and always use condoms. Some people find that antiviral medications, such as acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir), or valacyclovir (Valtrex), make their outbreaks less frequent and shorter-lived.
These drugs are available by prescription from your doctor. But they must be taken every day in order to work, so they might not be practical if you're only having an occasional outbreak. Antiviral drugs also carry side effects like nausea and headaches that some people can't tolerate. There's also a vaccine called Gardasil which protects against two strains of HPV—16 and 18—that cause 70% of cervical cancers and 90% of anal cancer.
How do I get tested?
Getting tested for genital herpes is important so that you can be aware of the virus and take steps to protect yourself and your partner. There are two types of tests: a swab test and a blood test. A swab test is when a cotton swab is used to take a sample from the infected area. A blood test can also be done to look for antibodies, which would show that you have been infected with the virus.
These tests should only be administered by medical professionals. If the results come back positive, this does not mean that the person has any symptoms or will develop them in the future. It just means they were exposed to an infection at some point in their life, though it may not necessarily have been sexually transmitted.
Where can I go for help or support?
If you think you might have genital herpes, or have been diagnosed with it, there are a few places you can go for help and support. Talk to your doctor, make an appointment with a specialist, join a support group, or look online for more information. There are also hotlines you can call if you need to talk to someone right away. You don’t have to go through this alone.
There are many resources available that can help you. Remember that not everyone who has genital herpes knows they do because many people have no symptoms or mild symptoms. The first time you have sex with someone, remember to ask them if they know their status. And always use protection when having sex, even if the person has had only one partner in the past year (and is therefore unlikely to be infected).
The CDC states that two out of three people between the ages of 14-49 years old will contract HSV2 by age 50, making it one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in America today.
Though genital herpes is a common and manageable STD, it can still be a difficult diagnosis to come to terms with. There is no cure for genital herpes, but there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms. If you have been diagnosed with genital herpes, know that you are not alone and that there is support available to help you through this.
Remember to always use protection if you plan on engaging in sexual activity, as STDs like herpes are passed easily from one person to another. Educate yourself about your condition and talk to your doctor about any questions or concerns you may have. Take charge of your health by seeing a healthcare provider for regular checkups and treatments so that you will be more likely to avoid passing the virus onto others or getting it again yourself.
Created on Jul 6th 2022 05:47. Viewed 96 times.