A viral disease, Herpes is caused by two different herpex simplex viruses, categorized as type 1 and type 2. The viruses can stay in human body for a lifetime and cause keep causing infections intermittently. While type 1 causes cold sores or blisters around the mouth and lips, type 2 causes sores around genitals and surrounding areas, primarily below the waist. Herpes simplex can even spread in the absence of sores through oral secretions, kissing, or sharing objects & eating utensils of the infected person. Herpes Simplex type 2 infection is spread primarily through sexual contact with an infected partner.
Oral Herpes Symptoms
In the case of oral herpes, a person may get fever blisters or cold sores on lips. The sores may also occur around or inside the mouth, particularly when oral herpes symptoms are starting to appear. Herpes symptoms go away after a few weeks and may return in a few days, weeks, months, or even years.
Genital Herpes Symptoms
Genital herpes causes painful sores and blisters on genitals and sex organs. As a sexually transmitted disease or infection, genital herpes can spread through intimate sexual contact. A chronic condition, genital herpes virus stays in the human body and becomes active over and over again. The infected person may show up herpes symptoms four or five times in the initial years of infection, as the virus is most active during this period. Gradually, the virus tends to become active less frequently, making each outbreak less severe.
About 1 in 6 Americans suffer from genital herpes infection.
Most people with genital herpes do not show any symptoms. The most common symptom is in the form of a cluster of blistery sores on the genitals, including penis, vulva, vagina, buttocks, cervix, or anus.
Genital herpes symptoms
- Itching and burning sensation while urinating
- inability to urinate due to severe swelling of sores that blocks the urethral opening
- open sores
- pain in the infected area
Initial herpes symptoms may last from 2 to 20 days and heal in 4-5 weeks. The virus can flare up suddenly, causing sores again, which take 10-14 days to heal.
Symptoms may include:
- swelling in throat
- swollen, tender glands under the arms and in the pelvic area
- flu-like feeling
- fever chills
A person infected with genital herpes is at twice the risk of getting HIV
A blood test is usually done for diagnosis. If you do not show signs of herpes simplex virus infection, the doctor may send fluid from the sores for lab testing.
Herpes treatment can help alleviate the symptoms, though there is no permanent cure for infection. In some cases, outbreaks may get weaker over a period of time. Prevention is always better than cure in sexually transmitted diseases. If your partner shows signs of genital herpes, it is best to avoid any kind of oral, sexual, vaginal, or anal contact with them, so that the infection does not pass on to you.