Herpes is a particularly common sexually transmitted infection, especially amongst young people. The Herpes Simplex Virus is the same virus that causes oral herpes, or “cold sores”. Cold sores affect a large percentage of the population and it probably comes as quite a shock to some people that it is possible to catch genital herpes from somebody that has a cold sore! If you are concerned about your sexual health and think that you may have been infected with the herpes virus then take a look at these common questions and answers.
How is Herpes Transmitted?
Herpes is a virus that can affect various parts of the body, with the most common being the mouth. Oral herpes is usually transferred from person to person through kissing. However, the herpes virus also affects the genitals and can be transmitted through intercourse (vaginal or oral) with an infected person. It is also possible to catch herpes by sharing a towel with an infected person.
Although the herpes virus is most contagious during an “outbreak”, it is still possible to transmit the virus when no symptoms are present.
What are the Symptoms of Herpes?
The first time you experience genital herpes, the symptoms may include the following:
- painful red blisters that burst to leave open sores around genitals, rectum, thighs and buttocks
- blisters and ulcers on the cervix
- vaginal discharge
- pain on urination
- a high temperature of 38°C (100.4°F) or above
- a general feeling of being unwell
Once this initial phase of symptoms has cleared (usually after a few weeks), then the virus remains dormant in the body and may cause a reoccurrence of symptoms every so often. Over time the outbreaks should become shorter and less severe. Symptoms of a recurrent outbreak include tingling around the genitals and painful blisters.
Symptoms of herpes may not appear immediately after contracting the condition – in fact it can be months or even years before symptoms are first experienced. If symptoms do occur on contracting the infection, then they will appear between 4-7 days after being infected.
How is Genital Herpes Treated?
Although you may think that you have genital herpes, it is important to find out that herpes is the cause by utilising private GP services. Broadgate GP offer full sexual health screenings and can provide herpes treatment, which may involve a prescription of anti-viral tablets.
If you would like more information about our sexual health clinic, don’t hesitate to contact us today on 020 7638 4330.