Genital herpes refer to the sexually transmitted disease (STD) found in both men and women. Most cases of genital herpes are caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 2. However, as people become sexually active at younger ages, infections caused by HSV type 2 have significantly increased.
Signs of genital herpes may be extremely difficult to spot. Some patients report experiencing mild pain and itching that could be mistaken for other skin conditions. Due to the lack of visible symptoms, many infected people are not aware of their disease.
The first outbreak of genital herpes usually comes with flu-like symptoms such as fever and body aches. In the outbreak, blisters will appear in certain parts of the body, leaving sores after they break. There will be repeat outbreaks over the time, though the first one will probably be the most severe. The number of outbreaks tends to decrease after some years, depending on individuals.
You can contract genital herpes if you have unprotected sex with an infected partner, including vaginal, anal and oral sex. Since genital herpes is highly contagious, you can be infected even through skin-to-skin contact, without any open sores.
Because of the sores from genital herpes, your risks of getting other STDs may greatly increase. Herpes also affect infants of infected mothers, resulting in brain damage or death. Proper medicine can help preventing the disease from being transfer to the child. Therefore, if you are pregnant and infected, get medical help as soon as possible.
Genital herpes is diagnosed by examining tissue samples taken from the sores. If there is no sore visible, it may be necessary to internally check for ulcers on the cervix or the urethra. Blood tests are also helpful to detect HSV.
Although there has not been any cure for genital herpes, your doctor can prescribe anti-viral drugs to help the sores heal faster and reduce discomfort, as well as suppress frequent outbreaks.
Being diagnosed with genital herpes can be an extremely devastating experience. It is normal to be afraid. Yet remember that genital herpes cannot ruin your future. It is important to talk to your partner. Do not jump to conclusions too early. Blaming is not going to help either of you. Since genital herpes can sleep in your body for years, it is hard to tell when you contract the disease and who you get it from. Stay informed of your condition to manage outbreaks. If you need help, do not hesitate to join support groups so that you can learn from other people’s experience.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnose or treatment.
Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017
Genital Herpes – CDC Fact Sheet. http://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/stdfact-herpes.htm. Assessed August 19, 2016.
Genital Herpes. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/genital-herpes/basics/definition/con-20020893. Assessed August 19, 2016.