What is Genital Herpes?
Genital Herpes or Herpes 2 is caused by Herpes Simplex Virus type 2 (HSV-2). It is one of the most prevalent disease in the United States of America, with a staggering 776,000 people added to its patient pool every single year. The symptoms of the disease, such as blisters on rectum and genitalia, appear within two to twelve days of the infection. The majority of the infected are women as the transmission of the virus is easier from a man to a woman.
How does the transmission occur?
Any kind of physical contact with an active sore of an infected person can cause the transmission of the virus to another human being. It is also possible that the patients may not show any signs of the disease and still transmit it to their partners. The most common form of transmission is of course, sex. The virus can be transmitted through vaginal, anal, as well as oral sex.
Is there a way I can prevent Genital Herpes?
The disease is tricky and can be passed on even if your partner is not showing any symptoms of an HSV-2 infection. So, it becomes impossible to judge, whether or not someone is infected by the virus. Considering that, the sure shot way to avoid genital herpes is obviously abstinence. However, if you are sexually active, it is better to know your sexual partner well. If that is not possible, then make sure you use latex condoms, which cannot eliminate the risk of catching the disease completely, but can definitely lower it.
Are there any symptoms to diagnose Genital Herpes?
People suffering from Genital Herpes do show signs like itching, burning, ulcers and painful blisters. However, these symptoms are often attached to skin conditions and therefore, genital herpes can be overlooked on superficial examination. The worst part is that more than four-fifth of the population suffering from the infection does not even show these symptoms, which makes it quite a tricky disease to diagnose. However, the absence of symptoms does not mean that the disease cannot be communicated. So, the only way to be sure is to get tested.
How does Genital Herpes testing works?
The presence of the HSV-2 virus in the body sets the immune system in defense mode and it produces many antibodies to fight the foreign antigens. There is a specific blood test for detecting the HSV-2 antibodies in the blood. However, these antibodies can only be detected after 3 weeks of the initial infection. Now, patients should take care that they get tested only after 4-6 weeks of a questionable sexual encounter. It is also recommended that the patients get themselves re-tested after 12-15 weeks of the first test to eliminate any chance of an HSV-2 infection.
Where can these tests be done?
The HSV-2 blood test is highly sensitive and requires sophisticated equipment and trained professionals to perform it. There are many reputed testing centers across the country that can perform the test and deliver reliable results. We have made your job easy and compiled the list of some of the best CLIAcertified testing centers along the length and breadth of the country. You can visit and save time and effort to find these testing centers. You can also get in touch with us and we will guide you through the process and find the testing centers that are closest to your location.
If I test positive, can I be cured?
Unfortunately, there is no treatment that can eradicate the HSV-2 virus from the body completely. But, antiviral medication can prevent the patient from suffering the painful symptoms like blisters. This is critical because as the symptoms exacerbate, the infected individual might start distancing themselves from social gatherings to avoid embarrassment. So, there is a psychological aspect to the disease too. Moreover, it is also possible for the patient to have a normal sexual life if they undergo a regular antiviral treatment. It will suppress the propensity of infection and keep the partner safe.
Is undergoing a treatment a good idea?
The answer to that question is a resounding yes. In fact, a routine Herpes testing should be considered a part of your regular medical checkup for STDs. The treatment cannot cure the disease, but can definitely give back the patient a normal life. If untreated, the symptoms will become worse and lead to brain damage, aseptic meningitis, and blindness. So, tread carefully.