Genital Herpes – Testing and Treatment

What is Genital Herpes?

Genital Herpes is an STD caused by two types of viruses. The viruses are called herpes simplex type 1 and herpes simplex type 2.

How is Genital Herpes spread?

Having vaginal, anal, or oral sex can spread herpes with someone who has the disease.

Fluids found in a herpes sore carry the virus, and contact with those fluids can cause infection. You can also get herpes from an infected sex partner who does not have a visible sore or who may not know he or she is infected because the virus can be released through your skin and spread the infection to your sex partner(s).

How can I reduce my risk of getting Herpes?

The only way to avoid STDs is to not have sex. But that’s not the solution, right?

So, the next best thing that you can do is being “careful”.

  • Use condoms every time.
  • Make sure your partner has been tested and is free and clear.
  • If your partner has active lesions, do not have oral, genital or anal sex.
  • If your partner is a carrier and does not have lesions, still use latex condoms every time.

 

Will Herpes affect my baby if I get pregnant?

  • If you are pregnant and have genital herpes, you may need herpes medicine towards the end of your pregnancy to reduce the risk of having any symptoms and passing the disease to your baby. At the time of delivery your doctor should carefully examine you for symptoms.
  • If you have herpes symptoms at delivery, your doctor may advise a Cesarean section.

What are the symptoms of Genital Herpes?

  • Most people who have herpes have no, or very mild symptoms.
  • Genital herpes sores usually appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals, rectum or mouth. The blisters break and leave painful sores that may take weeks to heal. These symptoms are sometimes called “having an outbreak.” The first time someone has an outbreak they may also have flu-like symptoms such as fever, body aches, or swollen glands.
  • You should be examined by your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms or if your partner has an STD or symptoms of an STD, such as an unusual sore, a smelly discharge, burning when urinating, or, for women specifically, bleeding between periods.

How is Genital Herpes diagnosed?

  • Your doctor may be able to tell by just looking at active lesions.
  • Your doctor may confirm the diagnosis by doing a culture of the blister or sore by a swab.
  • Blood test can be done to confirm prior exposure to genital herpes.

 

Can I be cured of Genital Herpes?

There is no cure for herpes. However, there are medicines that can prevent or shorten outbreaks. One of these herpes medicines can be taken daily, and makes it less likely that you will pass the infection on to your sex partner(s).

What happens if I don’t get treated?

Genital herpes can cause painful genital sores and can be severe in people with suppressed immune systems. If you touch your sores or the fluids from the sores, you may transfer herpes to another part of your body, such as your eyes. Do not touch the sores or fluids to avoid spreading herpes to another part of your body. If you touch the sores or fluids, immediately wash your hands thoroughly to help avoid spreading your infection.

What is the treatment of Genital Herpes?

Genital herpes is treated by a group of anti-viral medications called Acyclovir, Valcyclovir or Famcyclovir.

Your doctor may decide to treat you for a limited period or advise continuous suppression according to your symptoms.

 

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