Symptoms of Herpes
Herpes will cause sores to form and those sores will often break and leave painful ulcers that can take a few weeks to heal. Many people that are infected with HSV 2 are not even aware of their infection. However, if you do have outbreaks, the first one will usually be severe. In general the first outbreak occurs within two weeks of the virus’ transmission. You may also have flu-like symptoms, a fever, and swollen glands during the first episode.
People who suffer from one outbreak should expect to have four or five more of them within a year. Overtime, the outbreaks decrease in frequency. Sometimes people may have their first outbreak years after the infection is acquired.
The symptoms can be severe in people who have suppressed immune systems. The psychological distress that herpes causes cannot be ignored either. Herpes can also help the spread of HIV by making people more susceptible to contracting HIV and making HIV-infected people more infectious.
Herpes can also lead to a potentially fatal infection in babies. If a woman has an outbreak during pregnancy, it could be transmitted to the baby. Women in labor who have an outbreak usually have to have a cesarian. Fortunately, statistics show that babies rarely get herpes from their infected mothers.
Diagnosis, Prevention, and Treatment
To diagnose herpes, your doctor can inspect an outbreak, take a sample from a sore and get it tested, or give you a blood test. No test result is 100% reliable however but a blood test that is positive for HSV 2 most likely means that you have genital herpes. There is no cure for this virus but by taking antiviral medications, you can shorten outbreaks and prevent them from returning. You can also take medication as a daily suppressive therapy of symptoms, which will lessen the likelihood of transmitting the virus to partners.
A surefire way to prevent genital herpes is abstinence. You can also prevent the virus by being in a long-term monogamous relationship with someone who has tested negative for it. You can also reduce the risk of getting herpes by using condoms. When lesions and other symptoms are present, people should abstain from having sex because they are more infectious. Even without showing symptoms however, you can still spread the virus.
In conclusion, herpes is not a death sentence but it does have serious consequences. It may be no more harmful to your health than the common cold but it has the potential to severely affect your personal life. In order to stay safe and protect yourself remain abstinent, practice safe sex always, or stay in a mutually monogamous relationship.
Herpes Simplex Virus structure