Genital herpes is among the most common sexually transmitted infections among men and women. Unfortunately, scientists have yet to discover an effective cure for it although emphasis must be made that it’s a treatable infection with prescription antiviral medications like acyclovir.
Indeed, there’s hope for people who have genital herpes! If you suspect that you have it, you must be aware of its symptoms, treatment and prevention methods, and coping strategies. You will be able to live with it, even stop spreading it to your sex partners.
Herpes Simplex Virus at Its Root
The herpes simplex virus (HSV) is at the root of genital herpes. While you can become infected with it via other methods, you have been most likely infected via sexual contact with an infected person. You may have used a condom during sex, which can help in preventing its transmission, but it isn’t a foolproof defense.
You will likely not know that you have been infected because the virus can lie dormant within your body before being activated by a trigger, such as physical stress. You can’t shake it off either, so to speak, since it will still be inside your body and, thus, can be reactivated again and again. You may, in fact, experience its symptoms several times in a year.
Little to No Symptoms
But herein lies the crux of genital herpes. Most infected people don’t have the signs and symptoms and, thus, are unaware of their infections. Each sexual encounter increases the risk of both activation of the virus within the infected person and transmission to the other person.
Even when there are signs and symptoms, these are so mild that the infected person can easily dismiss it as just a passing experience or adopt homecare methods. The genital herpes can then be left untreated with prescription antiviral medications.
If you suspect that you have genital herpes, you should be on the lookout for these symptoms:
- Pain and/or itching, usually experienced within 2-10 days after sexual contact with an infected person
- Tiny white blisters, small red bumps, or even ulcers appearing several days after exposure
- Scabs where the healed ulcers occurred
- Pain and tenderness, especially when urinating, caused by the ulcers
These signs can occur on your buttocks, anus, mouth and genital area, both the internal and external parts. You may even experience flu-like symptoms so you can dismiss it as flu. But follow your gut instinct and seek medical treatment ASAP! Your doctor will prescribe antiviral medications, such as acyclovir and valacyclovir, which will lessen the duration, severity and frequency of your outbreaks.