Genital herpes is an infection caused by herpes simplex virus or HSV. This is a sexually transmitted disease. This kind of virus affects the genital areas as well as other parts of the body. There are actually 2 types of HSV, and they are HSV1 and HSV2.
Herpes is categorized as a chronic condition. This means that this is a long-term disease. However, there are numerous people do not manifest symptoms even though they have the disease. Many people also suffer from recurring genital herpes. If an individual is initially infected with herpes, then the recurrences tend to happen more frequently. The remission periods will get longer. Every occurrence tends to become less intense with time. HSV is very contagious and it can be easily transmitted to humans. This can be transmitted by direct contact. When a person becomes infected with the disease, it will remain dormant.
Most people with HSV do not know that they are carrying it because the symptoms are very slight. Many people cannot notice symptoms. So what are the symptoms of herpes? The blatant symptoms of herpes are generally in the form of blisters on the genital areas and sores around the mouth.
Many people do not have obvious symptoms for months or even years after being infected. For those who have symptoms on the initial period, they will notice it around four to seven days after becoming infected.
Here is a good video from YouTube explaining what is herpes:
Primary Infection Symptoms
This is a term applied for an outbreak of herpes that is apparent when an individual is infected for the first time. When primary infection is experienced, they are more severe compared to subsequent recurrences. The symptoms can last around 20 days and they may include:
- Vaginal discharge
- Blisters and ulceration on the cervix
- Pain during urination
- Cold sores around the mouth
- Red blisters – these blisters are very painful. They will soon burst and leave ulcers on the genital areas, buttocks, thighs, and rectum. The ulcers, in most cases, will heal and will not leave any scars.
Recurrent Infection Symptoms
These kinds of symptoms do not last long and they are less severe because the body has become immune to the virus. Usually, they will not last for more than ten days. The symptoms are:
- Cold sores around the mouth
- Burning around genitals before the blisters appear
- Women may have blisters and ulceration on the cervix
- Red blisters
Eventually, recurrences will happen less severe and less often. People with HSV 1 will experience less severe symptoms and fewer recurrences compared to people with HSV 2. When the virus is present on the skin of the infected individual, it can be easily transmitted to another individual through the moist skin that lines the mouth, genitals, and anus. It can also be transmitted to another individual through other parts of the skin including the eyes.
A person cannot be infected by touching things like washbasin or towel, which has been touch by a person with HSV. It has to be in direct contact with the infected person to become infected.
Below are some ways HSV can be transmitted:
- Having oral sex with an infected person
- Having unprotected sex
- Having genital contact with an infected person
- Sharing sex toys
Herpes simplex virus leaves the skin before blisters start to appear. This virus can be transmitted before blisters develops, when it visible, and even when the blister has been completely healed. HSV can still be passed to another person even if there are no symptoms. If a pregnant woman has herpes, then it is possible that the virus can be passed onto the baby.