Genital herpes is perhaps one of the most dreaded sexually transmitted diseases. In spite of that fact, however, it is actually one of the least serious and the most common of sexually transmitted diseases. The major downsides to it, however, are that it can be painful, especially when left untreated, and that there is no cure for genital herpes. However, there are many therapies and medications that can reduce outbreaks and make living with genital herpes a lot more manageable. The only way to gain access to these treatment options, however, is to get tested for the disease and to take action against it if present.
When most people think of genital herpes, they think of the painful, highly obvious blisters that often develop when the herpes virus is present. In truth, however, not everyone who is infected will develop these blisters. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 90% of people who have the virus are unaware that they have it. For many people, symptoms are mild or even unnoticeable. This is a scary fact since these individuals may still be spreading the virus to their sexual partners. For the safety of all of a person’s sexual partners, those who engage in sexual activity should be tested for genital herpes, which can sometimes be spread even when a condom is used.
The Spread of Genital Herpes
One of the reasons that genital herpes is so very common is because of how highly contagious it is and how easily it is spread. The sores that herpes often presents contain fluids, and coming into contact with those fluids leads to the spread of the virus. However, the virus can still be spread even when a sore is not present, so the absence of sores is no guarantee that a partner may not be infected. Herpes can be spread through vaginal sex, anal sex, and even oral sex with an infected person. Because it is so prolific, all sexually active people are encouraged to undergo herpes testing.
The Signs of Genital Herpes
As mentioned, many people have no symptoms of genital herpes or have only very mild, non-specific symptoms. In some cases, though, symptoms can present themselves. When they do, they may occur as:
- Grouped blisters or ulcers at the site of infection
- Burning genital sores/burning genitals
- Pain or burning upon urination
- Genital itching
- Genital discomfort
If any of these symptoms- which may sometimes indicate the presence of another STD- are present, seeking medical attention and testing immediately is advised.
The First Outbreak
Those who are infected with the virus and who present obvious symptoms will typically suffer through a very painful first outbreak. It is important to understand that, with medications, outbreaks can greatly lessen in pain, intensity, and duration over time. In fact, many medicated people live quite happy, normal lives with genital herpes.
As such, there is no reason to be afraid of herpes testing. All it can bring, in the end, is peace of mind, education, and an opportunity to lessen the intensity and spread of the disease.