Genital Herpes: An Overview
Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). It is spread through sexual contact and symptoms can include painful blisters or sores in the genital, thighs, or buttocks area. Though there is no cure for genital herpes, there are treatments that can help control outbreaks and reduce symptoms.
Treating Genital Herpes
The best way to treat genital herpes is with an antiviral pill such as acyclovir, famcyclovir, or valacyclovir. These medications should be prescribed by a healthcare provider and taken during an outbreak to alleviate symptoms. Treatment works best when started within 72 hours of symptom onset. For those who experience frequent outbreaks, suppressive therapy may be recommended which involves taking antiviral pills on a daily basis to keep the virus from getting out of control. Creams or lotions for cold sores are not effective in treating genital herpes and should not be used according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Preventing the Spread of Genital Herpes
It’s important to avoid having sex during an outbreak and until all ulcers and blisters have completely resolved in order to protect your partners from being infected as well. Additionally, always use condoms during sexual activity to reduce chances of spreading genital herpes further. Lastly, it’s important that you talk openly with your partner about any potential risk of genital herpes so you don’t unknowingly infect them.
Though there is no cure for genital herpes, there are treatment options available that can help manage outbreaks and reduce symptoms. Practicing safe sex and talking openly with your partner about any potential risk of exposure are also important steps in preventing its spread further.
How is genital herpes spread?
Genital herpes is spread from person to person through sexual contact.
Can genital herpes be cured?
There is currently no cure for genital herpes, but antiviral medications can help control outbreaks and symptoms.
Is it safe to have sex during an outbreak of genital herpes?
It is not safe to have sex during an outbreak of genital herpes. It is important to avoid sexual contact until the ulcers and blisters have completely resolved to prevent the spread of the virus to your partner.
Is it possible to spread genital herpes even when there are no symptoms?
Yes, it is possible to spread genital herpes even when there are no symptoms. This is known as asymptomatic shedding and it is why people with genital herpes should always practice safe sex to prevent the spread of the virus.
Can you prevent outbreaks of genital herpes?
While there is no sure way to prevent outbreaks of genital herpes, suppressive therapy, which involves taking antiviral pills daily, can help to reduce the frequency and severity of outbreaks.