Learn About Genital Herpes - Your Guide To Manage Herpes In Your Life
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Herpes 101 - An Introduction To The Herpes Simplex Virusfrom:
There is often great confusion when it comes to herpes. Just the
word "herpes" often conjures up images of a particularly nasty
sexually transmitted disease. But did you know that herpes
actually stems from a virus known as the herpes simplex virus?
And were you aware, that the chances are that you have already
caught it at some stage during your life? In fact, statistics
show that around 85% of the world's population has been
infected, and it is in fact the hardest virus to control known
to man. However, this is often where the confusion stems from.
You see, there are two strains of the virus, known as herpes
simplex 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex 2 (HSV-2).
Herpes simplex 1 is the most common strain and is the cause of
cold sores and fever blisters that appear around the mouth, lips
and gums. Now everyone's heard of a cold sore, but did you know
that it is in fact oral herpes. Despite around 85% of the
population being infected with HSV-1, not all people will
develop cold sores or lesions around the mouth. This is because
each person's immune system is unique and many are able to
suppress an outbreak. Instead, the virus lies dormant, although
a carrier will still be able to pass the virus on under certain
The second strand of the virus, herpes simplex 2, is the virus
responsible for genital herpes. Genital herpes is one of the
most prevalent STDs, and more worryingly, research shows that
there has been 32% rise in the U.S alone between 1978 and 1990.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1
out of 5 American teenagers and adults is infected with HSV-2.
The symptoms of genital herpes usually occur within 2 weeks of
contracting the virus. The area infected can include the
genitals, rectum, buttocks, thighs, or any other part of the
body where the virus could have entered through broken skin.
Small red bumps appear first which develop into itchy blisters.
Other common symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches,
difficulty urinating, vaginal discharge, and swollen glands in
the groin area.
The symptoms usually last 1-2 weeks. Once infected, HSV remains
in the nerve cells of your body for life, and outbreaks
(recurrence) can occur several times a year. Despite there still
being no cure, scientists are confident that a vaccination will
be developed in the next 5 years. However, an effective
treatment to reduce the pain and recurrence of symptoms is
Acyclovir (Zovirax), which is an antiviral medication. This can
be taken in an ointment form, liquid, orally, or even
intravenously depending on the severity of the outbreak. Always
consult your doctor before taking any new course of medication.
An old cliché is that prevention is better than cure, and this
certainly applies to herpes. Never engage in oral sex if your
partner has either mouth herpes or genital herpes. Never share
towels, cutlery or a toothbrush with an infected person. Always
practice safe sex. Using a condom can significantly reduce the
risk of transmission, although it is by no means 100% effective,
since it may not cover all infected areas. Valtrex, recently
approved by the Food and Drug Administration, may offer the best
hope to sufferers at the present time. It can significantly
reduce the chance of transmission, although the person infected
must take it continuously.
About the author:
Caroline Smith is an author and regular contributor to
http://www.about-herpes.com - An educational resource with
information on genital
and other diseases caused by the herpes simplex virus.
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