Anyone suspecting that they may have genital herpes and/or are experiencing symptoms should go to the appropriate sexual health care clinic. All appointments are held in strict confidentiality. Ideally, a genito-urinary medicine specialist should be the one to diagnose the patient — but if that is not possible, seek out a general practitioner. Depending on the circumstances, a general practitioner may refer the patient to a specialist. First, though, the patient will be asked a series of questions regarding their symptoms followed by an examination.
It is easier to diagnose herpes when the virus is still present.
The doctor or health care professional will take sample of fluid from the infected site, which may mean breaking the blister if it’s present. This sample will be sent to a laboratory for testing. Negative results may not necessarily mean that the person doesn’t have genital herpes. Genital herpes can be better confirmed if the outbreak persists or repeats.
A blood test is another method of diagnosing genital herpes. That said, blood tests aren’t always accurate because they sometimes miss recent infections.
What are the ways to treat genital herpes?
- Over-the-counter pain management medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
- Symptoms can sometimes be alleviated by bathing in a bath of salted water.
- Some find that ice packs also help. Wrap the ice pack in a towel or cloth before applying to the skin.
- Vaseline or petroleum jelly can be applied to the affected site.
- Sometimes urinating can be painful, so it helps to apply something like lidocaine or some other cream to the urethra. Urinating while sitting in warm water has also been shown to soothe the pain.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing near the affected area.
- Make sure to wash your hands, especially if they’ve come into contact with the affected location.
- Practice complete abstinence while symptoms persist, and don’t engage in sexual activity until the symptoms have vanished.
Medication as a method of treatment for genital herpes
No drug can get rid of genital herpes. Acyclovir is an antiviral that many doctors prescribe for genital herpes. Acyclovir is usually taken up to five times a day. This will prevent the virus from multiplying. Treatment with acyclovir lasts up to five days if the patient continues to get blisters and ulcers. Antiviral tablets reduce the severity of symptoms as well as help to clear the outbreak faster. Antivirals are given when the patient first produces symptoms. According to scientists from University of Washington Virology Research Clinic in Seattle, WA, USA as reported in The Lancet (January 2012); herpes can reactivate even after aggressive antiviral treatment.