Genital Herpes is an STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) caused by a virus called the Herpes Simplex virus. There are two different types of the Herpes virus, the one that generally targets the mouth (HSV-1) and the one that generally targets the genitals (HSV-2). Herpes Simplex Virus 1 is essentially the cold sores people get on their lips and mouth. Which really shouldn't be considered an STD since it can be contracted in many ways other than sexually. Genital Herpes is an extremely common STD with 1 in 4 women and 1 in 5 men currently infected with the STD in the USA.
Herpes outbreaks can show symptoms of redness or as one or a group of blisters on the penis and base of the penis, inside and around the vagina, or in and around the anus. The first outbreak is generally the worst, lasting for weeks until the blisters break, release pus, and begin to heal. Future outbreaks tend to decrease in severity and heal at a much faster rate over time in most patients.
Genital Herpes is contracted and transmitted through sexual contact, which is what makes it a sexually transmitted disease. The blisters don't have to be present in order to spread the virus because of viral shedding, making it hard to control because you never know if your sexual partner is carrying the STD. Since 1970 Genital Herpes cases has, as reported from the center of disease control, risen 30% in the USA.
Since you don't know if your partner is carrying Genital Herpes because the blisters don't have to be present to spread the STD contracting it is very easy. Genital Herpes is spread through skin to skin contact. Meaning when a person infected with Herpes has genital contact with an uninfected person, and their skin touches, the virus is then possibly transmitted. The Herpes virus is not spread through just the transmission of fluids, so condoms aren't 100% effective in preventing the spread of the disease.
Genital Herpes Symptoms Do I Have Herpes?
Genital herpes if visible, can be almost nonexistent to very noticeable. The Herpes Simplex Virus causes redness and blisters on the genital areas of both men and women in about three weeks to three months after sexual contact with someone infected with the STD. The blisters generally start off as small bumps, grow into full blisters, and burst releasing pus.
What do Herpes Blisters look like? Well if you have ever seen a cold sore on someone else's lip before, they are pretty much the same thing because they are variations of the same virus. The blisters can be small or large, there can be just one Herpes blister, or many located close together. Here are some pictures of the Herpes Simplex Virus to give you a better idea of what Herpes looks like.
Warning Graphic Genital Herpes pictures!
Here we have pictures of herpes including herpes pictures on men and herpes pictures on women.
Other Milder Genital Herpes Symptoms Include:
- Redness or rash.
- Swollen glands.
- Blisters and bumps.
- A sore throat.
Herpes Diagnosis Treatment and Cure
To diagnose the Herpes Simplex Virus you will have to visit your health care provider for testing. Many times a visual inspection is all that is needed to diagnose Genital Herpes. If there is no out break at the time of your visit your doctor can take a culture sample from the infected area of the skin and test it in a lab for HSV. There are also some blood tests that can be done to check to see if you are infected with herpes, but they are usually less accurate and rarely given due to the fact that visible diagnosis of Herpes is the simplest and most commonly used method.
There is no cure for HSV 1 or HSV 2. So once a patient becomes infected with Herpes they will carry it with them for the rest of their life. Fortunately there are ways to treat and help prolong the time between outbreaks as well as lesson the severity of the outbreaks. Eating healthy and exercising is always good for you, but also builds up your immune system which helps suppress the virus. So the healthier you are the less outbreaks you should have. There are also antiviral medications that combat the Herpes virus and keep it at bay preventing outbreaks before they happen. Covered by insurance plans, some of the more popular Herpes medications are: Acyclovir, Famvir, Valtrex, and Zovirax. Non of these medications are cures for Genital Herpes, but will help suppress them. Some studies have proven that they also reduce the risk of passing herpes on to your partner.
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Questions and Answers About Herpes