Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection that is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) and is usually transmitted thorough unprotected sex or oral sex. The most common type (HSV-1) appears as cold sores on the mouth and lips, whilst HSV-2 affects the genitals, buttocks and rectum.
Anyone who is sexually active can contract this STI, though the 20 to 24 age group is most at risk. If you donít seek a genital herpes treatment immediately, the infection can spread to other parts of the body and increase the risk of you contracting HIV.
Genital herpes is a viral infection and it cannot be cured, which means you could experience outbreaks for the rest of your life. However, genital herpes can be managed. With the right anti-viral treatment, symptoms can be reduced or even cleared and the virus can be pushed into remission.
What are the symptoms of genital herpes?
Many people who contract genital herpes donít show any symptoms at first. If symptoms do present themselves, they might appear four to five days after contracting the infection, or it could be weeks, months or even years later.
If you do experience symptoms, the following are usually displayed:
- Blisters around the genitals, thighs and inside or around the anus
- Discomfort, redness, itching or tingling around the infected area
- Painful or burning sensation when urinating
- Unusual discharge
What causes genital herpes?
Genital herpes is caused by two strains of the herpes simplex virus: HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 causes infections on the lips or mouth as cold sores or fever blisters; and HSV-2 causes genital herpes which presents itself as red sores and blisters around the genital area.
The virus can be passed on through unprotected anal, vaginal or oral sex; by sharing sex toys; through genital contact with an infected person; or through direct skin contact with an infected person.
Itís thought that six in ten people carry HSV-1, and one in ten are infected with HSV-2.
What are the risks of genital herpes?
If left untreated, the herpes virus can spread to the lips, nipples, buttocks, fingers and eyes. This STI can also increase your risk of contracting or passing on HIV, particularly if youíre displaying blister symptoms. In some cases, HSV-2 has passed via vaginal birth from a mother to her baby.
Whilst anti-viral treatments are really good at helping you to manage this infection, they canít cure it. Genital herpes treatments can reduce the intensity and frequency of outbreaks, and should be used as soon as symptoms become apparent.
How does genital herpes treatment work?
Once you contract the virus, herpes will remain in your body. Genital herpes treatments wonít eradicate the virus, but you can still limit its effects. The discomfort of the first outbreaks is usually treated with Aciclovir, which needs to be taken for seven to ten days. Future outbreaks can be treated by Valtrex and Famvir.
Completing an online consultation
If you have tested positive for herpes, you can complete an online consultation with one of our doctors in order to find a suitable genital herpes treatment. This will allow our doctors to asses which treatment would work best with your condition, and they will write a prescription if itís safe and necessary for you to use a particular genital herpes treatment. This prescription will be passed on to our pharmacy, which will dispense the genital herpes treatment and send it to you via free next-day delivery.