What is Herpes: What You Need to Know about the Stigmatized STD

What Is It?

Herpes simplex viruses could be sorted into two categories: herpes type 1 and herpes type 2. Herpes type 1 is also known as oral herpes or HSV-1. On the other hand, herpes type 2 is also recognized as genital herpes or HSV-2. Oral herpes has earned its name due to the sores or blisters that appear around the mouth or inside it. Genital herpes is a condition that gets its name because of the sores that could be seen on the genitals or even the rectum.

What Causes Herpes?

Despite the paranoia about the matter, it is not possible to acquire herpes 1 or 2 by using the same toilet seat that was used by an infected person. However, it definitely is possible to get herpes 1 if you happen to share the likes of cutlery and toothbrushes with them, due to the oral secretions and sores. Herpes 2 generally spreads when one has any sort of sexual contact with a patient. Also, there are many people who have a dormant herpes simplex virus in their body, which could become active at some point or another, due to the following reasons:

  • Emotional or physical trauma
  • Menstruation, for the case of females
  • Exhaustion
  • General sickness, ranging from the flu to more serious diseases and medical conditions

Who Are Most At Risk?

You must understand that one could attain herpes, despite age and gender. The higher the chances of you coming in contact with a herpes patient, the greater are the chances of you picking it up too. According to experts, women are an elevated risk of obtaining the disease. The same could be said for individuals with a weak or compromised immune system, often the result of being ill due to another condition.

Complications Of Herpes

Unfortunately, there are a handful of complications if someone develops herpes, a few of which have been mentioned as follows:

  • If you happen to have genital herpes, you have a higher possibility of acquiring another sexually transmitted disease.
  • The lining of the rectum could become swollen, a condition known as proctitis. This happens mostly in the case of sexual acts between two men.
  • Foetuses have a chance of attaining this disease if their mother already has it.
  • In exceptional cases, the patient also acquires meningitis.

Some Signs To Recognize Herpes

Generally, herpes does not need a laboratory test to be recognized; it could be identified by the formation of sores or blisters around the infected areas, such as the mouth and the genitals. Other signs of genital herpes include itching and a burning sensation and discomfort during urination.

In the case of certain people, a condition known as herpes keratitis may occur, affecting the eyes. This causes a gritty feeling in the eyes, alongside pain and certain discharges. Other people have flu-like symptoms when they acquire herpes, such as fever, lack of appetite, headaches, swelling of lymph nodes and much more.

Diagnosis Of Herpes

Usually, doctors could recognize herpes from the tell-tale signs. However, a few doctors take a test called herpes culture, in order to be certain of the problem. This is helpful for those few patients who do not have blisters when suffering from herpes.

Treatment For Herpes

There happens to be no legitimate cure for herpes today. However, there are drugs that could help minimize the probability of repetitions of the breakout of herpes, nurse sores and blisters and reduce the chances of transmitting the disease to someone else. Some of these drugs include Valtrex, Zovirax and Famvir. These medications need to be prescribed by doctors before they could be taken.

Prevention Of Transmission Of Herpes

As a human being, it is your responsibility to prevent any sorts of transmission of herpes to people around you, if you happen to be a patient. Individuals suffering from genital herpes need to keep away from having sexual contact with others. And those afflicted with oral herpes need to keep away from kissing, sharing cutlery, clothes, make-up products and utensils, or even engaging in oral sex. Women who have herpes could always contact their doctor, get medications prescribed to keep the disease from affecting their growing baby. Any infected skin should always be kept clean, medicated and covered.

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