Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection that is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), and is transmitted through unprotected sex. HSV-1, the most common type, usually appears as cold sores around the mouth, whereas HSV-2 affects the genitals, buttocks and rectum. Anyone who is sexually active can catch genital herpes; however it is more common in men and women aged between 20 and 24. If these infections are left untreated, they may spread to other parts of the body.
Unfortunately, genital herpes cannot be cured, and you may experience persistent outbreaks. It is, however, easily treatable and can be effectively managed with anti-viral treatments. Aciclovir is normally prescribed to first time sufferers. For persistent outbreaks, Valtrex and Famvir can be used to fight off an infection.
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Many sufferers of the herpes simplex virus don't show any symptoms at first. If symptoms do show up, they may occur within 4 to 5 days after the infection is contracted, or they can appear weeks, months or sometimes years later.
Symptoms of herpes can include blisters around the genitals, thighs and inside or around your anus; discomfort, redness, itching or tingling around the infected area; a painful or burning sensation when passing urine; and an unusual discharge from the tube that passes urine from the bladder.
There are 2 types of the herpes simplex virus, HSV-1 and HSV-2, both of which can cause genital herpes, although it is more commonly caused by HSV-2. The virus can be passed on through unprotected vaginal or anal sex, by sharing sex toys or if genital contact has been made with someone who is infected with herpes. The virus can also be transferred through oral sex, if the person performing the act has cold sores. Herpes can also be passed to the genital area from the fingers.
Most facial cold sores are caused by HSV-1 whereas HSV-2 is more likely to affect those who are sexually active. Herpes simplex on the genitals may be caused by either HSV-1 or HSV-2 virus.
Tests for genital herpes are generally more accurate when the virus is still active so it's essential that you seek medical advice straight away. If you are certain that you have genital herpes and you want to manage the symptoms, you can use our free online consultation to get a prescription for safe and effective treatment.
If you visit your local GP, they will test you for genital herpes by using a swab to gather a sample of fluid from one of the blisters. Most of the time, this swab will be sent to a specialised laboratory, where they will analysis the sample
The spreading of herpes to the lips, nipples, buttocks, fingers and eyes can arise if the infection is left untreated. Having herpes also makes it more likely that you might contract or pass on HIV, particularly if you show signs of blisters. In some cases, HSV-2 herpes has also been known to be passed on from vaginal birth from an infected mother to her baby.
Anti-viral treatments can treat the symptoms and prevent further outbreaks, but they cannot eliminate the condition completely. You should always treat your symptoms as soon as they become apparent and discuss further treatments with your doctor. Genital herpes can stay dormant in your body, but the condition is manageable and further outbreaks do not always occur.
"Genital herpes is a viral STI mostly spread through unprotected sexual intercourse and can cause sporadic outbreaks that can initially be very uncomfortable."Dr Hilary Jones
HealthExpress Medical Advisor
Unfortunately, there is no cure for genital herpes. Once infected, the virus remains in your body for life. Genital herpes is a virus and can be controlled with anti-viral medication. Some herpes simplex infections clear up even if no treatment is given; however it is strongly recommended that you take a herpes home test kit to prevent further damage to your health.
Step 1 - Simply complete our online consultation which will be reviewed by one of our registered UK doctors. View the medical questions here
Step 2 - They will be able to recommend a range of beneficial treatments. You will receive a diagnosis in a secure email.
Step 3 - If deemed suitable, you will have the access to login, directly to your personalised member's area, from where you will be able to place your order and receive it the next working day.
If you have tested positive for genital herpes, then you can take an online consultation to find a suitable treatment. Our doctor will assess your consultation, to determine which treatments are suitable for your condition, while taking into account your overall health and medicines you are already taking. If you are suitable for anti-viral treatment, you will be able to select from the available medications. A prescription will then be written and passed on to our pharmacy. They will then dispatch your order for overnight delivery.