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Realities around genital herpes

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By Loveth Udezue

GENITAL herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection (STl) caused by herpes simplex virus, mainly the herpes simplex virus 2.

   Sexual contact is the primary way that the virus is spread. After the initial infection, the virus lies dormant. This implies that the virus will be hidden in the body which can

reactivate several times a day when the immune system is low.

 Genital herpes is caused by two herpes simplex viruses, and they are herpes simplex virus1 and herpes simplex virus 2.

The herpes simplex virus 1 pread through skin to skin contact and also to the genital areas during oral sex, especially in those that practice oral sex. Herpes simplex virus 1 can spread from the mouth to the genital areas. Recurrence is much less frequent than they are with the herpes simplex virus 2.

(HSV-1) usually causes cold sores or fever blisters around the lips and mouth. It is often spread through skin to skin contact and also to the genital areas during oral sex, especially in those that practice oral sex. Herpes simplex virus 1 can spread from the mouth to the genital areas. Recurrence is much less frequent than they are with the herpes simplex virus 2.

  On the other hand, Herpes simplex virus, 2(HSV-2) is the type that commonly causes genital herpes. The virus spread through sexual contact and skin to skin contact. It is very common and highly contagious.

 The risk factors of becoming infected with this virus increase in women who have multiple sexual partners because women are more likely to have genital herpes than men, and additional sexual partners raise the risk of being exposed to a virus that causes genital herpes.

  Most people infected with the herpes simplex virus aren’t aware of it. This is due to the absence of signs or symptoms or because their signs are so mild.

  When present, the symptom may be noticed within two to 12 days after being exposed to the virus and if you experience any symptoms,  the symptoms may encompass pain or itching around the genital area until the infection clears, then small red bumps or tiny white blisters appear in few days to few weeks after infection. There can be ulcers which may form when blisters rupture and ooze or bleed causing painful urination, especially in females and also in male.

clears, then small red bumps or tiny white blisters appear in few days to few weeks after infection. There can be ulcers which may form when blisters rupture and ooze or bleed causing painful urination, especially in females and also in male.

  During an initial outbreak, because it’s of viral origin, you may have flu-like signs and symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes in the groin, headache, muscle aches and fever.

  According to Dr Emma-Ogbuefi Obiamaka, a Medical Officer at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Health Services, Awka, there are different symptom locations for both men and wome; though both can develop sores on the buttocks and thighs, anus, mouth and urethra.

 The urethra is that tube that allows urine to drain from the bladder to the outside. Specific symptoms for women are sores in or on the vaginal area, external genitals and cervix, while men develop sores in and around the penis and scrotum.

 However, there is an adage that says prevention is better than cure.

  For all sexually transmitted infections, the best prevention approach is ABCD of prevention which is abstinence, being faithful to one faithful partner, condom use and disease treatment using antiviral medications.

  Also, avoid intercourse if either partner has an outbreak of herpes in the genital area or anywhere.

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