Genital Herpes

By: Manu Viswanath

Definition

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). It is caused by a virus called herpes simplex (HSV).

Transmissions

It causes herpes sores in the genital area and is transmitted through vaginal, oral, or anal sex, especially fro unprotected sex when infected skin touches the vaginal, oral, or anal area/ Occasionally, it can cause cores in the mouth, and can be spread by secretions in saliva. Because the virus does not live outside the body for long, you cannot catch genital herpes from an object, such as a toilet seat.

Symptoms

Someone with genital herpes may first notice itching or pain, followed by sores that appear a few hours to a few days later. The sores, which may appear on the vagina, penis, scrotum, buttocks, or anus, start out as red bumps that soon turn into red, watery blisters.


The entire genital are may feel very tender or painful, and the person may have flu-like symptoms including fever, headaches, and swollen lymph nodes. If someone has an outbreak in the future, it will tend to be less severe and shorter in duration, with the sores healing in about 10 days.

Treatments

If you think you may have genital herpes or if you have had a partner who may have genital herpes, see your family doctor, adolescent doctor, gynecologist, or health clinic for a diagnosis.


Right now, there is no cure for genital herpes, but a doctor can prescribe antiviral medication to help control recurring HSV-2 and clear up the painful sores.

Problems

After the herpes blisters disappear, a person may think the virus has gone away - but its actually hiding in the body. The virus stays hidden away in the body until the next herpes outbreak, when the virus reactivates itself and the sores return, usually in the same area.


There is no cure for herpes; it will always remain in the body and can always be passed to another person with any form of unprotected sex.


Genital herpes also increases the rest HIV infection because HIV can enter the body more easily whenever there's a break in the skin (such as a sore) during unprotected sexual contact.

Prevention

The only surefire way to prevent genital herpes in abstinence (not having sex). Teens who do have sex must properly use a latex condom every time they have any form of sexual intercourse (vaginal, oral, or anal sex).


If one partnmer has an herpes outbreak, avoid sex until all sores have healed. Herpes can be passed sexually even if a partner has no sores or other signs and symptoms of an outbreak.

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