Genital Herpes

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  • What is it? There are two types of the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) and both are very infectious. They are Type 1 and Type 2 and can both affect the mouth and nose area or the genital area or both. If Type 1 has affected the mouth and nose area it is more likely to recur than if Type 2 infects this area. Similarly if Type 2 has affected the genital area it is more likely to recur than if Type 1 affected the area. In previous years Type 2 was always the cause of genital and anal herpes but Type 1 is becoming more widespread due to the increase in oral sex. The virus can affect the mouth, nose, genital area, the skin around the anus and the fingers. Once the first outbreak of herpes has subsided the virus hides away in nerve fibers, where it remains undetected and causes no symptoms. Despite rumours you can contract Type 2 genital Herpes if you are suffering from Type 1 oral Herpes.
  • Symptoms: Both male and female display one or more of the following symptoms
  • Itching or tingling in the genital area
  • Small blisters that rupture and leave sores which scab over and heal
  • Painful passing of urine as it passes over open sores
  • Flu like symptoms

Recurrent infections are generally milder

  • Transmission: The Herpes virus can be transmitted through skin contact with a carrier with the virus affecting the area of entry. The most common forms of transmission are kissing, penetrative sex where the penis enters the vagina, mouth or anus, or through oral sex from mouth to genitals.
  • Treatment: An examination is carried out and urine and swab samples are taken and sent to a laboratory for testing. The result is available usually within 2 weeks. Treatment during an outbreak is not essential, as genital herpes will clear up by themselves. Tablets are available which reduce the severity of genital herpes infection. Recurrent infections often do not require treatment. A certain degree of self help can be carried out by sufferers including bathing the sores in salt water, wearing loose clothing, drink plenty of fluids and get plenty of rest.
  • Post Treatment: Although recurrent infections are usually milder, the virus in extremely contagious before and after an outbreak.  With any recurrence the sores are fewer, smaller, less painful and heal quicker, and there are no flu-like symptoms. Click here for a list of agencies you can contact should you require further information or help.

If there are any health workers that could help us keep our pages updated please mail us as we are very aware that new research and information is constantly being published on Genital Herpes. Your help would be much appreciated.

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