By Dr. Jolly Arora, Sexology
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease. One out of every six people in the United States suffers from this disease. It is more common than you think. Like any other STD, it is extremely important to take proper protection (use a condom) while engaging in sexual activities.
Genital Herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). There are two types of herpes simplex virus.
- HSV-1 is most commonly associated with blisters and ulcers around the mouth known as cold sores.
- HSV-2 is associated with blistering lesions in genital areas that are exposed during sexual contact.
However, both types of herpes simplex virus can infect the mouth or the genital areas, meaning that genital contact with a cold sore on the mouth can lead to genital herpes. Likewise, kissing someone with a cold sore can spread the herpes simplex virus infection.
After the initial outbreak of herpes, the virus travels through the nerves and resides in nerve tissue within the body.
Most people with genital herpes don’t know they have it. That’s because in most people it produces either no symptoms or very mild ones.
Symptoms of Genital Herpes:
a) The area around your genitalia becomes red and cracked without any pain or itching.
b) Itching around your anal region
c) Blisters around your genitalia can cause immense pains when they break open.
d) Pain in the open sores while urination.
e) Headaches and backaches.
f) Flu and swollen lymph nodes are very common.
g) Fatigue is also felt if you suffer from genital herpes.
Symptoms like these can be mistaken for other infections such as vaginal yeast infections, bacterial infections and bladder infections. So, if you are suffering from such symptoms it is advisable to go in for a health check up followed by a physical exam and a blood test to confirm whether you have genital herpes or not.
How can it get spread?
You can only get Genital Herpes from vaginal intercourse and not anal or oral intercourse. The fluid present in the sore of a genital herpes patient has infected fluid. If the fluid comes in contact with their partner’s sexual organs while having intercourse they can be easily infected.
Can Symptoms Be Treated?
There is no cure for genital herpes. But the symptoms can be lessened and prevented with treatment. Treatment can also reduce the risk of infecting others.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe antiviral medications to help prevent or reduce the pain and discomfort from an outbreak of symptoms. Medication taken on a daily basis to suppress the virus can reduce the number of outbreaks and reduce the risk of infecting others
How to Avoid Getting Genital Herpes:
- Try to have sex with people who have been tested negative for herpes or any other STDs.
- Use a latex condom while having sex. It prevents any sort of liquid to pass inside your partner’s genitalia.