Herpes simplex virus, or HSV, is an extremely common viral infection. There are two herpes simplex viruses, Type I is more often associated with the common cold sore in and around the mouth. Type II is associated with genital herpes transmitted by sexual contact, producing sores in the cervical and vaginal area and on the penis. Genital Herpes usually develops 1-2 weeks after contact with the virus, although some people develop symptoms months later.
- Flu-like symptoms, including swollen glands, headache, muscle aches, or fever
- Red and sensitive skin
- Small red bumps, which may develop into blisters or painful sores
- Small, thin-wall blisters filled with clear liquid. These blisters rupture, leaving shallow, painful sores which gradually form a scab and heal, usually within 2-3 weeks
- Painful urination
- Swollen lymph nodes in the groin area
- If you are free of herpes infection, you can eliminate your risk entirely by not having sex or by having sex only with a non-infected partner who has sex only with you
- If you have a sexual relationship with a person who has herpes, avoid direct contact with the affected area during an outbreak
- Between outbreaks, use a latex condom and spermicidal foam for additional protection
- During an active infection, wash hands carefully to prevent spreading the infection to other parts of the body
- Although there is not yet a cure for herpes, appropriate treatment is effective in helping to control the disease. A healthcare provider may prescribe Acyclovir to reduce the discomfort and the frequency and duration of outbreaks. Once infected, a person will always harbor the virus., although subsequent recurrences will generally be less severe than the first.