Genital herpes is a common condition that usually comes from a virus known as herpes simplex-2 or simply HSV-2. Its counterpart HSV-1 causes cold sores. HSV-2 can be transmitted from one person to the other whether they show symptoms or not. You can get herpes by having sex with an infected person. Sex means any kind of sex, whether vaginal, oral or anal. However, you cannot catch it from something like a towel or toilet seat as the virus cannot live long outside your body. It’s a very common condition that in the United States, almost one in every five adults has it. Many people mistake an ingrown hair or small pimple for herpes. If you’re worried or if you suspect you have genital herpes, visit Lafayette’s women’s health care to get tested and treated. The doctors will take small samples from your sores or even conduct a blood test to be sure.
Some of the first symptoms to manifest include an itch around your genitals, followed by small but painful blisters that leave sores that bleed or ooze. In most people, the symptoms manifest after a few weeks after catching the virus from someone. If it’s your first time, you may also experience flu-like symptoms such as headaches and a fever. Other people may not even show symptoms.
Although herpes can be treated, once you get the disease, you’ll always have it. The virus will stay in your body forever, although it may not show any symptoms. Having an outbreak means that the symptoms have shown up at a particular time. Most people have on and off outbreaks for years, but the first is always the worst, and it gets milder and less frequent with time.
Once you’ve confirmed that you’ve contracted herpes, don’t kiss or have sex with other people, as you might infect them. You can still spread the disease even if you don’t have the symptoms. Your physician will prescribe an antiviral drug to help you. These pills will shorten an outbreak if there’s one and will make you feel much better. Your doctor may suggest that you take antivirals every day if you want to lower the risk of spreading the disease to your partner, want to prevent more outbreaks or if you have lots of outbreaks.
Prevention and Management
There’s always a chance of getting herpes if you’re sexually active. You can make these chances less likely by always using a polyurethane or latex condom, or even a dental dam every time you have sexual intercourse. If both you and your partner are disease-free and are not sleeping with other people, you should be safe.
If you already have it, do the following to feel better during an outbreak; wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothes, take a warm, soothing bath, avoid the sun or heat as it could cause and rupture the blisters, and avoid using perfumed soap or douches near the blisters.
You can still have sexual intercourse if you have herpes. Wear a condom every time except during an outbreak when you should completely avoid it. You must inform your partner about your condition so that they can know and get tested. During an outbreak, wash your hands often, because if you touch a blister and touch some other sensitive part of your body, such as the eyes, the infection could spread.