WHAT IS GENITAL HERPES?
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the herpes simplex viruses type 1 (HSV-1) or type 2 (HSV-2).
HOW DO PEOPLE GET GENITAL HERPES?
Sexual contact: Infections are transmitted through contact with lesions, mucosal surfaces, genital secretions, or oral secretions. HSV-1 and HSV-2 can also be shed from skin that looks normal. Pregnancy, childbirth, and newborn period: Women can pass the infection to their babies in all stages of reproduction, leading to potential death of the newborn.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF GENITAL HERPES?
Mostly asymptomatic: Most individuals infected with HSV-1 or HSV-2 show no symptoms, or have very mild symptoms that go unnoticed or are mistaken for another skin condition. When symptoms do occur, they typically appear as one or more cavity on or around the genitals, rectum or mouth. The cavity break and leave painful ulcers that may take two to four weeks to heal.
WHAT CAN RESULT FROM GENITAL HERPES?
Ulcers: Genital herpes causes painful genital ulcers in many adults that can be severe. Can be persistent in persons with suppressed immune systems, such as HIV-infected persons.
Other results: Can also cause rare but serious complications such as blindness, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and aseptic meningitis (inflammation of the linings of the brain). Development of extragenital lesions in the buttocks, groin, thigh, finger, and eye may occur during the course of infection.
WHEN SHOULD I GET TESTED FOR GENITAL HERPES?
1-2 months after a potential exposure. This ensures the reliability of results.
HOW IS GENITAL HERPES DIAGNOSED?
Blood tests and cell culture sample from a sore are the most common tests. Blood tests are more reliable as they can give results even if you do not have symptoms.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR GENITAL HERPES?
There is no cure for herpes. Antiviral medications can however, prevent or shorten outbreaks during the period of time the person takes the medication. In addition, daily suppressive therapy (i.e. daily use of antiviral medication) for herpes can reduce the likelihood of transmission to partners.