Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted virus infection. It is caused by a herpes simplex virus (HSV), which can be grouped into two categories: Type 1 and Type 2. Most often the disease is caused by the herpes Type 1.
You can get the virus from skin contact having regular, oral and anal sex. The virus is most common in young people who have multiple partners.
The infection can also be transmitted during childbirth. It may result in death or neurologic problems of the newborn baby.
You hardly can get the virus from using common objects such as dishes, towels, toilet stools, and things. They are not the routes for spread of infection.
During Primary Genital Herpes a person get herpes for the first time. During the Secondary Genital Herpes the person gets it again.
The incubation period of genital herpes is 1-26 days and usually it takes place within 2-10 days.
Symptoms of Genital Herpes
During Primary Genital Herpes:
- Slight swelling
- Temperature rise and headache are possible
- Over several days, blisters appear
- The blisters break and turn into sores
- Pain when urinating if the sores are on the genitals
- The sores heal in about two weeks
During Secondary Genital Herpes:
- The listed symptoms are present in milder form
- Temperature rise and headache are usually absent
- Less sores
- The sores heal in about 7-10 days
It is important to remember the genital herpes may have no symptoms.
The people who have herpes outbreak for the first time and the people who have the outbreak again are more infectious. Yet a person may be a source of infection for his/her sexual partners even having no symptoms.
Diagnosis of Genital Herpes
- Examination of the typical symptoms
- Laboratory investigation of the sores and blisters
Prevention of Genital Herpes
- To avoid catching the virus use a latex condom during casual sex
- To avoid infection of the baby test the partners for HSV. If the pregnant woman has no virus but her male partner has, use condoms during sex (including oral) especially during the last three months of the pregnancy term (the period of the highest risk).
- If the symptoms occurred before childbirth the cesarean section is used.