Herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). It is estimated that up to 80% of the population has been exposed to the virus, however, only a small portion of those infected will show any symptoms of the virus. Herpes is one of the most common STDs in the United States, and it is important to know the facts about it so you can protect yourself and others.
Types of Herpes
Herpes is caused by two types of virus: herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2).
HSV-1 is mainly responsible for causing oral herpes or cold sores.
HSV-2 is mainly responsible for causing genital herpes. It is possible, however, for either type of virus to cause infections in either area.
Symptoms of Herpes
The most common symptoms of herpes are sores, which can appear on the mouth, genitals, or other parts of the body. The sores may be red, painful, and/or itchy. Other symptoms may include fever, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, and headache. It is also possible to have herpes without any symptoms, which is known as asymptomatic herpes.
Herpes is most commonly spread through skin-to-skin contact. This includes sexual contact, such as vaginal, oral, and anal sex. It is also possible to spread herpes through kissing and sharing of objects such as towels and razors. Herpes can also be spread to a baby during childbirth if the mother has an active case of herpes.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of herpes, it is important to see a doctor right away. Your doctor will be able to diagnose you based on your symptoms and medical history. If necessary, your doctor may also order a blood test to confirm the diagnosis.
There is no cure for herpes, but there are treatments available to help manage the symptoms. Antiviral medications, such as acyclovir, can help to reduce the severity and frequency of outbreaks. These medications can also help to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others.
Herpes can cause a number of complications, including:
• Increased risk of HIV infection
• Prolonged symptoms
• Vision problems
• Neurological problems
• Pregnancy complications
The best way to prevent the spread of herpes is to practice safe sex and to abstain from sexual activity if you have any signs or symptoms of herpes. It is also important to avoid sharing objects such as towels and razors. Additionally, if you are pregnant and have herpes, it is important to talk to your doctor about ways to reduce the risk of your baby getting herpes.
Herpes is a common STD that can cause a number of uncomfortable symptoms. It is important to know the facts about herpes and to practice safe sex to reduce the risk of getting or spreading the virus. If you are experiencing any symptoms of herpes, it is important to see a doctor right away. With the right treatment and prevention methods, you can manage your symptoms and reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others.