According to a report by the Centers Of Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), one in five sexually active people suffer from genital herpes. But despite it being such a common sexually transmitted infection (STI), there’s hardly any awareness about it. You can blame it on the taboo around sex and STIs. Sometimes genital herpes can also go unnoticed due to its dormant symptoms, especially post the initial stages. However, if you’re sexually active or are planning to have sex for the first time, you’ve got to know about STIs like genital herpes before your next encounter. Read on to know all the details:
What Is Genital Herpes?
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that leads to herpetic sores, painful blisters or fluid-filled bumps that can break open and ooze fluid. It can affect both men and women.
Genital Herpes: Symptoms
Sometimes, the symptoms of genital herpes may be dormant for years. However, in most cases, they will appear two-12 days after infection. Here are the most common signs of genital herpes:
-Blisters/lesions/pus-filled abscesses near the anus, vagina and buttocks.
-Blisters in your mouth, lips, face, and any body part that came into contact with an infected area.
-Itchiness or tingling before the blisters appear.
-The blisters may become ulcerated (open sores) and ooze fluid.
-A crust may appear over the sores within a week of the outbreak.
-Swelling of the lymph glands.
-Headaches, body aches, and fever.
Genital Herpes: Causes
Genital herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) which is found in the saliva, vaginal secretion or the semen of the infected person. It can be contracted sexually or passed on from an infected parent to a child during pregnancy as well. The virus is of two different types:
Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) causes oral herpes, which usually affects the mouth and surrounding skin but can also affect the genital region.
Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) typically causes herpes in the genital area and gets transmitted during sex.
Genital Herpes: Prevention
These three golden rules of practicing safe sex can protect you from STIs like genital herpes:
Always Use A Condom
Using a condom during oral sex and sexual intercourse is the best way to prevent genital herpes and other STIs. Even though the barrier method should always be used, it is even more important while having sex with a new or multiple partners.
Don’t Share Your Sex Toys
When it comes to sex toys, sharing is not caring. Sharing a sex toy with an infected partner can lead to genital herpes and other STIs.
Get Tested Together
Regular medical screenings are healthy for you and your partner. It can detect an STI at an early stage and help you seek timely treatment. Getting an STI test done before having sex with a new partner can also ensure safety for both of you.
Folks, sex is all fun and games until you drop your guard down (literally) and end up with an STI like genital herpes. So instead of regretting it later, have safe sex and go for regular medical screenings. Your safety is in your hands.
Featured Image: Pexels
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