Were you aware that most sexually transmitted infections or diseases present with no symptoms? This is why it can come as nothing short of a shock to most people when they discover that they have caught herpes (HSV 2) from a long-term partner. It is unfair that, even if your partner has no signs of herpes at the time, you can still catch it from them via unprotected sex. So, what should you do when you think that you have genital herpes, and what is the best way to treat this virus? Read on to find out.
What is Herpes?
In 2022, the majority of people have heard of herpes, and indeed, most people have it in one form or another, with the most commonly known sign of HSV 1 being a cold sore. But this is a different strain of herpes to that contracted via sex, so the treatment options are different.
Genital herpes (HSV 2) is a virus that is usually caught via unprotected sex. However, if you engage in oral sex with your partner and either they or you have a cold sore, then it is possible for you to get HSV 1 on your genitals. Most doctors will give you aciclovir for genital herpes, whereas you will usually be able to treat oral herpes with cold sore cream, which should not require a visit to your doctor.
Symptoms of Herpes
So, while a cold sore is a symptom of HSV 1, what are the symptoms of HSV 2?
Well, there are some differences based on your sex, but in most cases, you will notice small red bumps and rashes around your genitals, usually accompanied by itching or tickling sensations. There is likely to be discomfort when urinating, along with the appearance of blisters around your genitals. You will also likely have symptoms elsewhere in your body, such as headaches, back pain, and even lymph gland swelling. These symptoms may differ based on your age, your health, or your biological sex.
Treatment for Herpes
It is worth noting that once you have either HSV 1 or HSV 2, you will have it for life, and there is no way to get rid of it permanently. But to suppress HSV 2, you will need to be given medication by a doctor.
You will need to undergo a physical examination if you suspect genital herpes, which may also involve your doctor taking a swab from the blister to look for HSV antibodies.
Preventing the Spread
The only 100% effective method to prevent herpes from spreading via sexual intercourse is to use a barrier method. Condoms have the highest protection against the spread of herpes, but you need to ensure that you put the condom on when you begin any sexual activity.
However, if you and your partner are trying to conceive and one of you has herpes, this can be a tricky situation. Still, your doctor can prescribe oral herpes medication they will need to take daily while you are trying to conceive.