Genital herpes is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases and although it is not deadly, once you have caught it, no treatment can cure it.
You will have to live with it for the rest of your life. The infection became known in the 80s and at that time it was associated with the lack of sexual education and hygiene among the population. Nowadays, the situation seems to be similar even in developed countries like the U.S., though information in this area is no longer a tabu and prevention methods are always at hand.
Since genital herpes is not mentioned as often as other diseases transmitted by sexual contact (for example, AIDS), we might think that it is not very serious. Unfortunately, the situation is different, because herpes requires a lot of care and special attention once it is contacted.
In order to avoid this type of infection, it’s important to learn more about it. Let’s start with the most relevant 7 facts:
- According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1 out of 6 people with ages 14-49 has genital herpes in the USA;
- The virus which causes it is called Herpes Simplex Type 2 (HSV-2). You will recognize a person carrying it by lesions around the genital area, pain when urinating, cold sores and flu-like symptoms;
- The herpes infection is very serious; apart from the fact that it never heals, causing its’ bearer a lot of embarrassment, it can easily pass from the genitals to other body parts. Also, a mother who carries it can give the virus to her babies and the little ones can die because of that. In addition, the infection weakens the immune system leaving ”the victim” more exposed to other diseases: hepatitis, meningitis and more;
- Genital herpes spreads very easily; most commonly, you can contact it by unprotected sexual intercourse and oral sex with affected people, but any skin-on-skin contact can get you this problem. Sometimes, people who transmit it to others don’t even know they have it;
- Like we mentioned before, genital herpes is an infection that lasts for life. Even if at some point the symptoms disappear as a result of treatment, they can reappear when the bearer goes through some stressful situation;
- Like every other disease, genital herpes can be treated. The virus won’t disappear, but its impact will be less severe. Three drugs can be used with this purpose: ”Zovirax” (or ”Acyclovir”), ”Famvir” (”Famiclovir”) and ”Valtrex” (also known as ”Valacyclovir”).
- Genital herpes can be avoided by following some common sense and sexual hygiene rules:
- Abstinence is the best protection
- Monogamy is safer than multiple sex partners
- Use a condom every time you ”get busy”
- Don’t have sex with people who show sore genitals
- You and your partner should be tested for genital herpes
In the end, remember that if you don’t take care of your health, nobody will!