Genital Herpes Pictures
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There are eight types of human herpes virus. It is the herpes
simplex viruses types I and II- known as HSV- 1 and HSV- 2- that are responsible for genital herpes. HSV- 2 is more
frequently transmitted by sexual contact and is one of the most prevalent STDs worldwide; for example, research
suggests that one in five Americans is a carrier of HSV- 2.
HSV- 1 infects the mouth, lips or nose, causing cold sores.
HSV- 2 infects the genital and anal area.
Even if genital and anal infections used to almost always be caused
by HSV- 2 infection, HSV- 1 is becoming more common in these parts of the body due to greater numbers of folks
having oral sex.
Genital Herpes Pictures
An estimated 80% of people infected with HSV- 2 are not informed
they have the virus. This is because genital herpes will often produce mild symptoms or no symptoms at
all(asymptomatic infection) . The virus will still be hiding at the base of the nerve cells in the skin however.
Several cases of genital herpes go undiagnosed and many people pass the virus on to their sexual partners without
knowing of their infection.
Herpes Symptoms - Herpes Pictures
If indications do occur, they will usually appear 2 to 7 days after
exposure and last 2 to 4 weeks. Both men and women may have one or more symptoms, including:
Itching or tingling sensations in the genital or anal area.
Tiny fluid- filled blisters that burst leaving small painful sores
Hurting when passing urine over the open sores(especially in women) .
Flu- like symptoms, including swollen glands or fever.
Next outbreaks are usually milder and last for a shorter period of
time, usually 3 to 5 days. The sores are fewer, lesser, less painful and heal more quickly, and there are no flu-
like symptoms. Subsequent outbreaks, or primary outbreaks in people who have has the virus for a while but have
previously been asymptomatic, usually occur during periods of stress or illness when the immune system is
functioning less efficiently than normal.
How is genital herpes passed along?
Genital herpes is passed on through skin contact with a person
infected with the virus, most frequently during sex. The virus affects the areas where it enters the body. This can
Oral sex(HSV- 1 or HSV- 2)
Kissing(HSV- 1 only)
Herpes is most infectious through the period when itchy sores start
to appear on the skin during an outbreak. But even if an outbreak causes no visible symptoms or breaks in the skin,
there is still a risk of the virus being passed on to another person through skin contact.
Where to select help
In case you have any symptoms or you are worried you may have been
infected with an STD, you should discuss your worries with a doctor. They may be able to run tests or offer you
treatment themselves, or else will refer you to someone who can.
This tests for genital herpes
To learn if someone has genital herpes, a doctor or nurse will
usually carry out the following examinations and tests:
A clinical test will be done of a patient’s genital area.
A sample will be taken, using a cotton wool or spongy swab, from any visible sores.
Women may be given an internal pelvic examination(similar to a smear test) .
A sample of urine might be taken.
If the patient’s symptoms have already disappeared, or if there were
no symptoms to begin with, a blood test can be taken to look for the virus. As in HIV diagnosis, the test works by
searching for antibodies that the immune system produces to fight the virus. This means that the test is not
effective until 3 months after exposure, as the body can take up to 3 months to produce an immune response.
It is possible to have more than one sexually transmitted infection
at the same time, so it is advisable to have a full check- up.
Samples taken during an test are sent to a laboratory for testing, and the result is usually available within 2
weeks, although this varies between countries.
Therapy for genital herpes
There is no cure for the herpes simplex virus and treatment is not
essential, as an outbreak of genital herpes will usually clear up by itself. A doctor may however prescribe a
course of antiviral tablets that reduce the severity of an outbreak. The antiviral tablets work by preventing the
herpes simplex virus from multiplying. These tablets are only effective when taken within 72 hours of the onset of
symptoms, and will cease to have any effect once the patient stops taking them.
After the initial outbreak of herpes is over, the virus hides away
in the nerve fibers adjacent to the infection site, where it remains dormant, causing no symptoms. It is possible
for the dormant virus to be 'reactivated' in some people, in which case it travels back down your nerve to the skin
Recurrences of genital herpes vary from person to person in
frequency. Some will never experience an outbreak once again, whilst others may have milder recurrences more than 6
times a year. Because these recurrent infections are milder, they often do not require treatment.
As soon as receiving treatment for genital herpes, the doctor or
health advisor will talk about the genital herpes infection and answer any questions. They will also want to know
about any partners the patient has had sexual contact with within a recent period, as they will also be at risk of
having genital herpes and should be tested.
Aid during an outbreak
If you are suffering from an outbreak of genital herpes, there are
several things you can do that may help make it easier to cope with:
Acquire pain killers(aspirin/paracetamol) for any pain.
Gently bathe the sore areas using a salt solution(half a teaspoon of salt to half a pint of warm water) twice a
day: it is soothing and helps the sores to dry out. Wear loose clothing so that the air can get to the sore areas.
Place an ice- pack wrapped in a clean cloth or towel on the affected area. If passing urine is painful, try
urinating in a bath of water, or pour water over yourself while urinating. Drink plenty of fluids, such as mineral
water and soft drinks, to help neutralize the urine(it is important not to hold back from passing urine as this may
cause further problems) . Avoid sunbathing and using tanning beds. Get plenty of rest.
Taking care of yourself and your companion
During an outbreak of genital herpes, the sores are highly
infectious and the virus can be passed on to others by direct contact. To prevent this from happening, you should
Kissing when you or your partner have cold sores around the
Experiencing oral sex when you or your partner have oral or genital sores.
Having any genital or anal contact, even with a condom or dental dam, when you or your partner has genital
Applying saliva to wet contact lenses if you have sores around your mouth.
Remember- wash your hands with soap before and after touching the
While the likelihood of transmitting genital herpes to your partner
between outbreaks is much reduced, there is still some risk. Having genital herpes does not mean the end of your
sex life. Ask your doctor or clinical health advisor for advice.
Recall, a condom will only protect against herpes infection if it
covers all the sores. Herpes can also be transmitted by non- penetrative sex.
HIV and genital herpes
Persons with suppressed immune systems are likely to have more
frequent and severe recurring episodes of genital herpes. They may also have more asymptomatic outbreaks(where the
virus travels up the nerve to the surface of the skin but causes no blisters) during which time the virus will be
Pregnancy and genital herpes
Getting herpes does not affect a woman's ability to become pregnant,
though if herpes is first transmitted in the first 3 months of pregnancy there is a small risk of a miscarriage. A
first episode of herpes during pregnancy carries a greater risk of transmission to the baby. Getting infected
towards the end of pregnancy may cause the baby to be born early.
Despite the fact that transmission of herpes from a mother to her
newborn is rare, if it will occur, it can pose a serious risks to the baby. If left untreated, the infection may
cause damage to a newborn's internal organs, skin, and central nervous system and may even prove fatal. Prompt
testing and treatment with acyclovir of any baby thought to be at risk is therefore crucial.
A lot of women who have an outbreak(or even several outbreaks) of
genital herpes during pregnancy have a regular delivery including a healthy little one.