Genital herpes is caused by the virus Herpes simplex (HSV). There are two types, HSV1 and HSV11. Both types can infect the genital and anal area (genital herpes) the mouth and nose (cold sores) and fingers and hand (whitlows)
How is genital herpes passed on?
Genital herpes can be passed from one person to another during sexual contact. Anyone who is sexually active can get the virus. Both men and women can have genital herpes.
Genital Herpes can be passed on:
- During vaginal or anal sex, or by sharing sex toys
- It can be passed on by close genital contact-you don’t need to have penetrative sex(vaginal or anal) to pass it on
- If you receive oral sex from someone who has the cold sore or is just about to get one.
- If a person with herpes on the hand or finger touches a partner’s vagina, genitals or anal area
It is possible for pregnant women to pass the virus to her baby if she is having an outbreak at the time of giving birth.
You cannot get genital herpes from hugging, sharing baths or towels, from swimming pools, toilet seats or sharing cups, plates or cutlery.
Can I pass the virus to a partner when I have no signs or symptoms? In some people the body can shed the virus from the skin or mucous membranes without there being and signs and symptoms of genital herpes.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Many people will not have any visible signs or symptoms at all or not be aware of them. If you do not get signs and symptoms, they usually follow a pattern. You may have some or all of the following. 1st attack
- Feeling generally unwell with flu-like symptoms such as fever, tiredness, headache, swollen glands, aches and pains in the lower back and down the legs or in the groin. This will be followed by:
- Stinging, tingling or itching in the genital or anal area
- Small, fluid-filled blisters anywhere in the genital or anal area, on the buttocks and the tops of the thighs. These quickly burst within a day or two.
- Pain when passing urine (peeing) caused by the urine flowing over sores
- Symptoms are usually milder and clear up more quickly
- There is often an early tingling feeling with at times flu like symptoms before an outbreak.
How will I know if I have the infection?
You can only be certain you have genital herpes if you have a check up. When you’ve got signs and symptoms.
What is the treatment for Genital Herpes?
The treatment aims to relieve the pain, and to prevent the virus from multiplying. It involves taking antiviral tablets daily. There are several different types of antivirals that can be used. As genital herpes is caused by a virus and not bacteria, antibiotics will not help.