Genital Herpes (HSV-2)
Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States and many people with an infection do not even know it. Caused by the herpes simplex viruses type 1 (HSV-1) or type 2 (HSV-2). Most people will not show signs or symptoms for both HSV-1 and HSV2.
Genital Herpes infections are common in the United States. Approximately 16% of Americans have a genital herpes (HSV-2) infection.
Did you know?
There are actually 8 different viruses that are part of the herpes family. The viruses are numbered 1 through 8.
Signs and Symptoms
Most individuals will have minimal to absolutely no signs and symptoms from a genital herpes infection. When symptoms do occur they will typically appear around the genital or rectum as one or more red colored blisters. Over time these blisters will break, leaving tender ulcers (sores) that can take up to two to four weeks to completely heal after the first outbreak. Normally, another outbreak will occur weeks or even months later after the first outbreak. The second outbreak along with future outbreaks will almost always be less severe than the original.
The genital herpes virus will live in the human body for a indefinite amount of time but the number of outbreaks will generally decrease over time.
Stress can cause genital herpes symptoms to reappear after laying dormant in the body.
You can visually see the signs and symptoms of Genital Herpes in our image gallery.
HSV-2 can be transmitted from the sores that the virus causes, but they also can be transferred from skin that does not appear to have signs or symptoms of a sore. It is possible to spread genital herpes between somebody who does not have a visible sore and that individual may not even know they are infected.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of genital herpes you should avoid sexual contact until the symptoms have gone away.
The HerpesSelect brand test is a great test for Genital Herpes. It tess for both HSV1 and HSV2 and is FDA approved. The test is offered by both Labcorp and Quest Diagnostics. HerpesSelect needs to be ordered through your doctor or by a STD Testing Service.
Medications are available that will help outbreaks to go away faster. Valtex is one such antiviral drug that will slow the growth and spread of the herpes virus so that your body can fight off the infection.
The most effective method to avoid transmission of the genital herpes virus is to abstain from sexual activity or to be a monogamous relationship with a partner that is known to not be infected.
Correct use of a condom can prevent the spread from a genital herpes outbreak. Outbreaks will occur outside of the area covered by a condom and can be transmitted.
People that are experiencing herpes outbreaks should abstain from sexualy activity with uninfected sexual partners when herpes lesions or other herpes symptoms are present. If you feel any sensation that a herpes outbreak is occurring you should recognize this and abstain from sex. Over time you can become more aware of your outbreaks and even use treatment to lessen the outbreak.