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Symptoms of Herpes

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease which is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). This virus can affect the genitals, the cervix, and skin anywhere else on the body. There are two types of herpes simplex viruses, and they are: a) Herpes Type 1 (HSV-1) or b) Herpes Type 2 (HSV-2).

Herpes is a chronic condition, which means that it can recur. This makes herpes a long-term illness. People that are infected with the virus may never experience symptoms, but can still be carriers. Many with HSV have recurring outbreaks. Recurrences happen more often following the initial infection. As time passes, the recurrences become fewer and fewer. As remission periods grow longer, the severity of the outbreaks will lessen.

The herpes simplex virus is highly contagious.

HSV can be easily transmitted from one human to the other. Close or direct contact with an infected person is how the virus passes. Vaginal, anal, or oral sex are the most common modes of transmission. HSV remains dormant for most people after it has been transmitted to them. These people don’t experience symptoms or outbreaks and usually don’t know that they’re infected.

English: Cold sore

English: Cold sore (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What are the symptoms of herpes?

Blisters and ulcers around the mouth or genitals become visible for those that do experience the symptoms of HSV. Most people won’t experience these symptoms for many months or years following infection. Those that experience symptoms initially will usually see them present 4 to 7 days after they’ve been infected with the virus.

What are the primary infection symptoms?

Primary infection is a term that is used for when a person has first become infected with HSV, when a visible outbreak is present. Symptoms experienced during primary infection are often more severe than with a recurrent outbreak. These symptoms can last up to 20 days and can include the following:

  • Ulceration and blisters on the cervix
  • Pain while urinating
  • Vaginal discharge
  • A high temperature/fever
  • General discomfort
  • Cold sores near the mouth
  • Red blisters on the external genital area, thighs, buttocks, and rectum. These blisters can leave behind ulcers.
  • Ulcers usually heal and won’t leave behind scars, for the most part.

What are the symptoms of a recurrent infection?

Once the patient has built up immunity to the virus, the symptoms become much less severe and don’t last as long. Often, these symptoms only last up to 10 days or fewer.

  • A burning sensation around genitals before blisters appear
  • Blisters and ulceration of the cervix may be present in women
  • Cold sores near the mouth
  • Red blisters on the external genital area, thighs, buttocks, and rectum. These blisters can leave behind ulcers.

Eventually, these symptoms will happen less frequently with less severity. Those with HSV-1 will have fewer recurrences than those with HSV-2 — the symptoms with HSV-1 will also be less severe.

What causes herpes?

HSV can be passed on to another person through direct contact with the moist skin around the genitals, anus, and mouth. The herpes simplex virus can also pass on to a person through other areas of human skin, including the eyes.

It is not possible for a person to become infected by touching an object that was used by a person who is infected; even if it’s a towel, a washbasin, or a working surface.

A person can, however, become infected via the following ways:

  • Not using protection during vaginal and/or anal sex
  • Performing oral sex on a person who has cold sores
  • Sharing sex toys
  • Coming into contact with the genitals of an infected person

Just before a blister disappears, HSV leaves the skin. This virus can be passed on before a blister is even visible and can still remain a risk until the blister has cleared up. However, HSV can pass on to another even when a blister isn’t present, although the chances are much slimmer.

It is also possible for a mother to pass on the genital herpes to her baby at the time of birth if cold sores are present.

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Posted in Herpes Information by admin at June 23rd, 2013.

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