Understanding Genital Herpies:
Causes, Transmission and Symptoms

Genital herpies is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the United States.

If you think you are alone, cheer up.

There are millions of other men and women who are experiencing your dilemma.

You know you got it from having sex, but what really causes herpies?

The culprit is known as the herpes simplex virus or HSV.

There are 2 types:

  • Type 1 or HSV-1 is the virus that causes cold sores or fever blisters. If you have herpies lesions in the mouth or on the lips, you have HSV-1.
  • Type 2 or HSV-2 causes the genital lesions and outbreaks.

A lot of the cases of herpes are caused by HSV-2 but recent statistics show an increase in the cases involving HSV-1.

Why? Individuals with mouth and lip lesions that engage in oral sex can also transmit herpes.

Transmission of Herpies

genital herpies symptoms

The actual transfer of the virus occurs during the skin to skin contact during sex. If someone has visible lesions, the risk of infection is higher.

But don't feel comfortable just yet. Someone with no visible lesions can still pass it on. This is why some people go on spreading herpes genital without them knowing they have it.

As someone who has herpes, you have a responsibility to prevent further spread. That does not mean no more sex, but here are some things you need to remember:

  • Limit your sexual partners
  • Use latex condoms during sex
  • Use dental dam for oral sex

Take note that foams and spermicides cannot protect one from genital herpes and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Genital Herpies

The severity of the signs and symptoms of genital herpes vary from one person to another. While some people experience painful burning blisters and ulcers, some only have mild itch and redness.

Outbreaks. Do you remember the very first time you noticed something weird is going on with your privates? It's called an initial outbreak. It usually appears within 2 to 20 days after skin to skin contact to a person infected with genital herpes. Signs and symptoms include: 

  1. Flu-like symptoms such as fever and body pains.
  2. Appearance of sores and blisters on the genitals
  3. Dry and itchy skin. Swelling may be present.
  4. Vaginal or penile discharge 

Without treatment, the infection may last from 3 to 4 weeks although in most cases, these usually resolve within 2 to 12 days.

Warning Signs. At least herpes is decent enough to warn infected individuals that an outbreak will occur. The symptoms may be different for everyone so it is important to note the warning signs you experience.

Some of the most common warning signs include:

  1. Burning, itching and tingling sensations in the genitals
  2. Pain in the buttocks and legs
  3. Fever
  4. Swollen lymph glands particularly in the groin area
  5. Feeling emotionally depressed or irritable
  6. Burning sensation on the bottom of the foot or sides of the legs

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