What is Genital Herpes?

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease that is spread through close personal contact.  It is caused by both types of herpes, herpes simplex 1 and herpes simplex 2.  It is more common to contract genital herpes from a person infected with herpes simplex 2.  This virus stays in your system indefinitely once you have it.  There is currently no cure.

How do you know if you have genital herpes?

This virus can be difficult to diagnose, since most people may not have any signs or symptoms.  When an outbreak occurs, one or more sores or blisters appear on or around the genitalia, around or inside of the anus, and can even spread down to the buttocks and thighs.  These sores can be painful, itchy, and can take up to four weeks or longer to heal.  An infected individual can have another outbreak anywhere from a few weeks to several months after the first.  Usually the outbreaks become less severe with time, and eventually may cease altogether.  Even if the outbreaks stop, you still have the virus.  If you have sores or blisters it is best to not ignore them but to go and get tested at a local health department.  It is easiest to diagnose during an outbreak.

Are there any other symptoms or signs of genital herpes?

Yes there are more signs and symptoms that can occur.  Most initial outbreaks happen about two weeks after being infected with the virus.  Besides the sores and blisters you can also have flu like symptoms which includes running a fever and swelling of the lymph node glands.  There could be an absence of sores and instead you could experience a mild rash, or only one or two sores that can be easily mistaken for bug bites.

How does a person become infected with genital herpes?

This virus is spread by the open sores coming in contact with mucosal skin cells.  These include our mouths and genitallia.  By kissing, having oral sex and intercourse with an infected person, you can contract this virus.  Infection can also come from skin contact even when the infected person is not experiencing an outbreak of sores.