Herpes is a very common STI, and the herpes simplex virus, or HSV, causes this sexually transmitted disease. After you get the virus, it can stay dormant and then reactivate during different times throughout your life. Unfortunately, this disease has no cure, but you can take medications to reduce the chances of infecting others and ease its symptoms.
Types of Herpes
There are two types of herpes.
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1) Type 1
HSV-1 is arguably the most common type of herpes. Because it’s so prevalent globally, the medical community has tagged it an endemic disease. HSV-1 usually results in oral herpes. A considerable number of these cases affect the mouth region. However, it can also affect you in other areas, like your genitals.
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV_2) Type 2
HSV-2 is the other kind of herpes. This type usually leads to genital herpes, meaning symptoms generally appear around your genital areas. It’s a condition you’ll have to live with all your life, but symptoms only show during flare-ups.
Both the herpes simplex viruses mentioned above are what generally cause herpes.
HSV-1 commonly spreads via mouth-to-mouth contact through saliva or sores around the mouth. Sharing a toothbrush or lip balm can also cause lead to the transmission of the disease.
You’re at a higher risk of catching HSV-1 if you come in contact with a person who’s suffering an outbreak of the symptoms. People with it can sometimes transmit it during sex as well.
On the other hand, HSV-2 transmission almost always happens during sexual intercourse. This will include getting in contact with an infected person’s saliva, sores, skin, or body fluids, which can happen during anal, oral or vaginal sex.
Most people that have herpes don’t even know they’ve got it. Why? In most cases, it’s because they’re not showing signs and symptoms. When they show, these symptoms can start from around 2 to 14 days after you’ve contracted.
Some of the symptoms include:
- Itching and pain. You might start to experience tenderness and pain around the genital region until the flare-ups clear.
- Tiny white blisters or small red bumps might start to show a couple of days after the infection.
- Ulcers. These might start when blisters burst open and begin to bleed. Ulcers will often make urination painful.
- Scabs. Your skin will begin to crust over and start forming scabs once the ulcers heal.
Herpes currently has no cure. Treatments focus on limiting outbreaks and eliminating sores. Your sores can go away by themselves without treatment but might sometimes advise you to take some of these medications:
The medications listed above can help infected people reduce the risk of transmitting the disease to others. These meds can come as either creams or pills. For serious outbreaks, these meds can also be taken as injections.
It’s important to always practice safe sex and be careful when sharing things like lip balms, bottles, and spoons with other people to avoid contracting the herpes virus which is mostly caused by HSV-2. Hopefully, a vaccine or cure will be in the near future. But, until then, all you can do is find ways to manage it if you have it.