Information About Genital Herpes Symptoms and Prevention

This article has the point of dispelling some common myths about genital herpes, and also of  spreading the news about prevention.

Herpes is a very common virus: the CDC estimates that as many as 45 million people ages 12 and older are infected with genital herpes.  This is about one in five adolescents and adults.  This means that it is very likely that you or someone you know have this virus.

Many people that have genital herpes may not know that they have it because they either have very mild symptoms or they mistake the symptoms – such as painful urination in women – for another condition such as a yeast infection.

Just by taking some simple precautions, including using a condom and taking anti-herpetic medicine, you can protect yourself and your partner from getting the virus. Another way, possibly the most effective way, to prevent herpes (or any other STD) transmission is for you and your partner to be tested and known to be uninfected.

What is genital herpes?

Genital herpes is caused by herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), which can invade the body through a crack in the skin or through the mucosa of the mouth or genital areas. Signs of a HSV-2 infection are usually one or more blisters on or around the rectum or genitals. When the blisters eventually break, they leave tender ulcers or sores. Those can take two to four weeks to heal after the first breakout. Typically future breakouts will be less severe and have a shorter healing time.

Viral activity tends to decrease with time. This means that as time progresses, somebody with herpes will have less frequent and less severe outbreaks.

Did you know?

Genital herpes can spread whether or not there are symptoms present or if there have never been signs or symptoms.
Herpes is likely to be spread 3-5 days before a breakout.
Having genital herpes can make you two to five times more susceptible to HIV infection.
Condoms do not fully protect you against HSV-2 because the virus can infect areas not covered by the condom.
Even if you are not having a herpes outbreak, you may still “shed” the virus.

How can you protect yourself and your partner?

Abstinence is the only 100 percent effective way to ensure against the spread of any STD including genital herpes. Herpes can also be spread without the presence of signs or symptoms. Condoms act as a physical barrier against the spread of the virus, but they are only effective at protecting the area that it covers, which is probably not the only part of you that is coming in contact with your partner when you are having sex.

There are also over-the-counter as well as prescription medicines that one can take to suppress the frequency and severity of the outbreaks.  In doing so, they also reduce the risk of transmitting the virus. If you are interested in this, the best thing to do would be to ask you doctor about your options

Because such a high number of people are unaware that they are infected with genital herpes, testing for herpes is the best way to determine your status. A long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and is known to be uninfected is one of the best ways to remain disease-free.

*For the original article, please refer to