According to a study in the early 1990s, the number of American who is infected with genital herpes has increased by 30 percent. So, what exactly genital herpes is? This disease is a kind of sexually transmitted disease which is an infection of HSV-1 (herpes simplex type 1) and HSV-2 (herpes simplex type2). The virus infects the mucous membrane and skin in the body parts such as mouth, nose, throat and genital area. Both types of virus can affect the genital and surrounding area. For people under 25 years old, the common herpes virus to infect is the type 1 while for people over 25years old, genital herpes commonly causes by the type 2 virus. In general, the HSV-1 common cause the herpes case on face and mouth.
The HSV or herpes virus spread easily from person to person through skin contact, kissing, as well as vaginal, anal, and oral intercourse. The infected person can easily transmit the virus to other people when he/she has ulcers or skin blister which is visible, however, the virus can also infects even when there are no skin sores or symptoms at all. The herpes virus can be transmitted even when they do not know that they get infected.
For pregnant women who are infected with HSV – the common case is HSV 2 – the virus can be delivered to the baby during labor which then causes herpes infection to the baby’s skin, lungs, mouth, and even eyes. If the virus gets into the bloodstreams and spread to the body; it causes serious infection for the baby’s vital organ and brain.
Symptoms of Genital Herpes
Considering the serious disease that herpes virus cause, many people do not clearly realize the symptoms of the disease. Moreover, there are many people who do not realize that actually they get infected and then they transmit the virus to other people unknowingly. The infection herpes virus may appear unnoticed or usually called sub clinical infection which makes many people not aware if they have been infected.
To prevent the further spread of genital herpes disease, here are some symptoms of genital herpes. The very first symptom to appear is itchy, sore, and burn feeling in the genital and anal area as well as the emergence of small blisters. The blisters than promoting skin sores or small ulcers if it breaks.
The first episode which occurs after the herpes infections is usually the worst of all episodes of the symptoms. After infections, the symptoms can develop for days to weeks and usually it is flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, back pain, muscle aches, and the general sick feeling. Sometimes, even the infected person does not feel any symptoms for years. However, most infected people with genital herpes will have at least one episode. For people who have plenty repeated episodes, the symptoms can further trigger due to physical as well as emotional stress.
There are also health problems in relation to genital herpes such as difficulty to urinate, encephalitis, meningitis, and proctitis. For a baby who infected through the mother, the first symptoms usually occur after 5 to 9 days. The symptoms include blisters on eye, mouth and skin. If the virus spread to the bloodstream and other organs then cause more serious problems especially if the virus is HSV-2.
Diagnosis of the Disease
Generally, doctors examine the condition through the sexual history, symptoms, as well as the physical examination. They may ask the patient to do laboratory and blood test as well as scrapping the infected skin to confirm the diagnosis. The doctors may also conduct other examination for other infections since the infected people prone to catch another disease such as syphilis, trichomonas, gonorrhea, and even HIV.
The herpes diagnosis for baby occurs more difficult since other things can also cause the same symptoms as well as other infections. For baby, it is required to do a blood test and need special cultures to confirm the herpes infection.
Genital Herpes Prevention
It is important to always keep in mind to have safe sex only for the genital herpes prevention. If you are not in a monogamous relationship, make sure to always use a condom for every sexual intercourse. Limit the sexual partner to minimalize the risk. For people who have the genital herpes symptoms should avoid sexual intercourse since they have a greater risk for HIV infection. Moreover, if a person has HIV and infected with HVS-2, he/she will likely to spread the HIV to other people.They also should tell their partner about the symptoms and take the medication regularly. For pregnant women who infected with this virus is strongly advised to have a caesarean labor to prevent the virus from infecting the baby.
Treatment for Genital Herpes
Oral antiviral such as valacyclovir, famciclovir, and acyclovir can be treated the episodes of this disease. For severe genital herpes cases can be treated using intravenous acyclovir. Even though the antiviral medications cannot completely cure the infections; it can reduce the severity as well as shorten the episodes. The medication should be started as soon as the symptoms occur for about three days after the symptoms occur. The recurrences symptoms should be treated as soon as possible also after notices the outbreak. For people with frequent recurrences may need to take the medication in a daily basis. Daily antiviral medication may also help transmission prevention of the virus to a sexual partner. Pregnant women should have proper medications under the supervision o obstetrician.