What is herpes?
Herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease. Many people with the virus do not exhibit symptoms, so it is important that you get tested regularly if you are having unprotected sex or if you have multiple partners.
How common is genital herpes?
The Centers for Disease Control estimate that 15.5% of people in the United States aged 14-49 have the HSV-2 infection. Additionally, women are nearly twice as likely to contract the HSV-2 infection as men because it is easier for men to pass it to women than it is for women to pass it to men.
How do you get genital herpes?
Genital herpes is most often spread through contact with wounds or lesions, mucosal surfaces, genital secretions, or oral secretions. In general, a person can only contract the HSV-2 infection through intercourse with an infected person. Often times, the infected person does not even know they have the infection.
What are the symptoms of genital herpes?
Genital herpes causes painful genital ulcers in adults. Lesions may occur on other body parts, like the thighs, buttocks, fingers, and eyes as well. Systemic symptoms include fever, body aches and pains, swollen lymph nodes, and headaches. The initial outbreak tends to have the worst symptoms. Subsequent outbreaks often occur much less frequently (sometimes only once or twice a year).
Is there a cure/treatment for herpes?
Currently, there is no cure for herpes. Some antiviral medications are available to help suppress the effects of the infection.
How can I avoid contracting herpes?
Since there is currently no cure for herpes, it is imperative that you take the proper steps toward protecting yourself from contracting the infection in the first place.
• Use Protection: Using proper protection (like condoms and dental dams) can help reduce the risk of contracting herpes.
• Get Tested Regularly: If you are engaging in sex with multiple partners, make sure you are getting tested regularly. Remember, many people who carry the infection do not exhibit any symptoms and pass it on unknowingly to other partners.