What do we mean by Genital Herpes?
Genital herpes refers to Sexually Transmitted Disease, which is characterized by an outbreak of herpetic sores, i.e. painful blisters, on and around the genitals. Around 16% of people aged between 14 and 49 years have this STD. Genital Herpes is caused by two kinds of herpes viruses, HSV-1 and HSV-2, which can be present in the infected individual’s bodily fluids, like their semen, saliva or vaginal secretions. Common symptoms of genital herpes in males include blisters on the scrotum, penis, or buttocks; and for females, genital herpes is marked by blisters near the anus, vagina and buttocks. Both men and women can have swelling, itching and tingling sensation in the affected areas, and can also experience fever, body ache and headache.
10 Ways To Reduce The Risk For Genital Herpes
Since there is no cure available for genital herpes, it is extremely important to try and avoid the infection in the first place. Listed below are the top 10 ways to reduce the risk of getting genital herpes. One can prevent getting genital herpes by:
#1. Using A Condom Each Time When Having Sex
When it covers the infected area, a condom can effectively keep one protected against the offending virus and thus reduces the risk of contracting genital herpes.
#2. Enquiring If Their Partner Has Ever Sufferred from STD?
Most people having genital herpes are often unaware of their condition. So it advisable for an individual to ask their partner if they have had any other form of sexually transmitted diseases previously, since people with a known history of STIs have greater chances of having genital herpes.
#3. Asking Their Partner About Any Significant Sexual History
A person who may have been involved in sexual intercourse with numerous partners has greater chances of contracting herpes virus and transmitting them to others.
#4. Restrict Sexual Partners
Fewer the number of sexual partners an individual has in their lifetime, lesser is their chance of contracting herpes virus.
#5. Avoid Having Sex With Partner With Active Sores On Genitals
One should abstain from having sex with a partner who is suffering from genital herpes. They should especially avoid any sexual contact when they come to know that he partner has active symptoms. Also, one should not get physically intimate with someone who has visible sore on the genitals and is not sure if they suffer from genital herpes or not. It should be remembered that everyone with genital herpes do not experience symptoms and the sores are extremely difficult to pick up with the naked eye. This is very important to reduce the risk for genital herpes
#6. Do Not Indulge in Oral Sex From an Individual With Cold Sore
Oral herpes results in sores on the mouth referred to as cold sores. This can be passed to the genitals if the affected individual indulges in oral sex. So avoiding oral sex with a person with cold sore is important to reduce the risk for genital herpes.
#7. Asking Their Partner To Get Checked
If one anticipates their partner to be having a high risk for genital herpes, they should think about asking him or her to be checked for the problem. In such a case, even the individual should themselves get checked to reduce the risk for genital herpes.
#8. Refraining From Having Sex When Intoxicated
Illicit drugs and alcohol impairs judgment and reduces inhibitions. So, people in an intoxicated state get a bit careless about indulging in safe sex and end up regretting it later. Refraining from having sex when intoxicated is important to cut down the risk for genital herpes.
#9. Abstain From Sex Until You Have a Single Partner for Life
The best way of keeping sexually transmitted infection at bay is by having just a single sex partner that has not history of STIs, and both the partners staying monogamous for life. This is a sure shot way of not only reducing the risk for genital herpes, but other sexually transmitted diseases as well.
#10. Trying Alternative Ways Of Sexual Pleasure
Ones who do not wish to be monogamous until they find a partner with whom they want to spend their life with can greatly reduce their risk of getting STI such as genital herpes by practicing ways which do not involve any genital to genital contact or oral-genital contact, like mutual masturbation.
Diagnosis & Treatment of Genital Herpes
A herpes infection can be typically diagnosed through a visual examination of the herpes sores. A few blood tests can further help to confirm the diagnosis of genital herpes. Certain treatments including antiviral drug therapies, along with proper home care, can help to reduce the outbreaks, but cannot cure an individual of the herpes simplex viruses.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Genital Herpes: https://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/default.htm
- World Health Organization (WHO) – Herpes Simplex Virus: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/herpes-simplex-virus
- American Sexual Health Association (ASHA) – Genital Herpes: https://www.ashasexualhealth.org/stdsstis/herpes/
- Mayo Clinic – Genital Herpes: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/genital-herpes/symptoms-causes/syc-20356161
- National Health Service (NHS) – Genital Herpes: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/genital-herpes/