Genital Herpes Symptoms, Causes And Risk Factors

Imagine this, you meet a new person you are interested in and you spend a nice evening with them, on a date; later on, you want to take things to the next level and want to get intimate with the person.

At that moment, do you stop to think about how healthy the person is or whether they might have a sexually transmitted disease or infection which could be spread?

what is genital herpes

Well, if your answer was a "yes" to the above question, then, you are definitely on the safer path, as it is extremely important to know about a person's health, before having intercourse with them!

In this age of dating apps and the increasing instances of casual sex and polyamorous relationships (instances where people have multiple sexual partners), statistics have shown that sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STDs & STIs) are also increasing drastically among people.

When people engage in sexual activities with people they do not really know well, or people who have not been tested, then, the chances of getting STDs are higher, even with the use of condoms, as it is not 100% safe!

STDs and STIs can be extremely dangerous and one of the most deadly diseases in the world, AIDS, is also an STD which has no treatment and can be spread within minutes!

So, it is very important to take all the safety measures necessary to keep oneself safe from sexually transmitted diseases.

The best way is to ensure that both partners are tested before engaging in sexual activities and use of protection is also a must, in case of sexual intercourse with multiple partners.

Now, there are a number of STDs and STIs which affect humans, some of the common ones being, AIDS, genital herpes, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, HPV, etc.

While some of the STDs are treatable and have cures, some of the others cannot be treated at all and may even result in death!

There are a few STDs which can be treated and kept under control, but they have no cure.

Genital herpes is one such STD which can be treated but has no permanent cure, which means the person affected would need life-long treatment.

So, here are a few facts, symptoms and risk factors one must know about genital herpes:

1. Statistics
2. Definition
3. Symptoms
4. How Is It Spread
5. Treatment
6. Prevention
7. Pregnancy Risk Factors

1. Statistics

Genital herpes is a rather common sexually transmitted disease which can affect people who are sexually active, regardless of age and gender. In India alone, about 10 million cases of genital herpes are reported in just a year, so you can imagine how much more it can be, globally!

2. Definition

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). When this virus enters the body through the source, it usually travels through the nerves and may remain dormant there for a long time, before becoming active.

Which is why a lot of people never experience symptoms and are unable to detect the disease in the early stages, until the HSV virus becomes active inside the body and starts giving rise to symptoms.

3. Symptoms

Some of the most common symptoms of genital herpes include pain in the genital area (penis and vagina), itching in and around the genital area, formation of sores in the genital area, blisters in the genital area, pain during urination, pain during intercourse, skin rashes, sensation of pins and needles in the genital area, recurring flu, swollen lymph nodes, low immunity, etc.

4. How Is It Spread?

Genital herpes is spread by engaging in sexual intercourse with an infected person, even if there are no symptoms in the infected person yet. The HSV virus can spread through seminal fluid, vaginal fluid and saliva, which comes in contact with the skin of the other person.

It usually enters the body through the skin pores. So, even wearing a condom during sex may not prevent this disease, as it may spread to oral sex or just skin contact with genital fluids during sex.

5. Treatment

As we read earlier, genital herpes is a condition which does not have a cure, but its symptoms can be treated to keep them under control. Medications are given which have to be taken on a daily basis, probably for the life-time. In addition, healthy lifestyle habits and safer sex can prevent the disease from worsening.

6. Prevention

The best way to prevent genital herpes is to avoid any kind of sexual contact with an infected person, be it oral sex, anal sex or vaginal sex. Also, having a single partner, who is not infected and is free of STDs is also another way to enjoy sex life, without having the fear of STDs like genital herpes.

If your partner is diagnosed with genital herpes, it is important to discuss the risk involved for you, in terms of sex, with your doctor.

7. Pregnancy Risk Factors

If a pregnant woman or her partner is diagnosed with genital herpes, it is extremely important to take immediate action and go to the doctor, because the HSV virus can be deadly for the unborn child, if you are infected or if your infected partner has made sexual contact with you during pregnancy. So, immediate treatment will be required.

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    Read more about: std hiv aids health
    Story first published: Tuesday, July 10, 2018, 16:30 [IST]
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