Genital Herpes

Genital herpes:
A sexually transmitted disease caused by two types of viruses, herpes simplex virus type (HSV-1) and (HSV-2), and it is a lifelong infection.

Oral herpes:
HSV-1 most often causes oral herpes, which can lead to cold sores or fever blisters in or around the mouth. However, most infected people do not show any symptoms, and most infected people become infected during childhood or young adulthood through kissing someone or sharing utensils, towels, razors, or lipstick with someone infected with HSV-1.

The relation between genital herpes and oral herpes:
Oral herpes caused by HSV-1 can spread from the mouth to the genitals through oral sex.

Modes of transmission:
It is possible to contract genital herpes through direct contact with herpes sores, especially open ones, usually when having vaginal, anal or oral sex with an infected person, and you can get it by touching:

  • Infected genitals.
  • Saliva from a partner with oral herpes infection.
  • Genital fluids from a partner with genital herpes.
  • The skin in the mouth area of a person with oral herpes.
  • The skin in the genital area of a person with genital herpes.
  • Genital herpes infection can be contracted from a sexual partner who does not have a visible sore or is unaware of his infection.
  • Birth from a mother to her child (very rarely).

You can't catch herpes from toilet seats, bedding, or swimming pools, and it's not uncommon to catch it from touching things (e.g.: cutlery, soap, or towels).

Pregnancy and herpes:
Some research indicates that genital herpes infection may lead to miscarriage or increase the likelihood of a baby being born early. Herpes may be transmitted to the unborn fetus before birth, but it is more commonly transmitted during childbirth. It can also lead to a fatal infection in the baby. "Neonatal herpes" is a serious condition that can cause problems for newborns (such as: brain damage, eye problems, or even death), so it is important to tell your health care provider when you notice symptoms of herpes or if there is any possibility of exposure to it during pregnancy.

Most people with genital herpes have no symptoms or have mild symptoms that may go unnoticed. That's why most people don't know they have a herpes infection.
Herpes sores usually appear as blisters on or around the genitals, rectum (anus), or mouth. These blisters crack and leave painful sores that may take a week or more to heal. Flu-like symptoms (such as: high body temperature, body aches, or swollen lymph glands).

When to see a doctor:

  • When noticing the above-mentioned symptoms.
  • If the partner has a sexually transmitted disease or one of the symptoms.

Herpes is not completely curable, however there are medications that can prevent or reduce outbreaks, and daily anti-herpes medication can reduce the possibility of transmitting the infection to a sexual partner.

The only way to completely avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal or oral sex. If you are sexually active, you can reduce your chances of getting genital herpes by:

  • To be in a long-term relationship (marriage) with a partner who has been tested and does not suffer from herpes.
  • Use a condom the right way, knowing that not all herpes sores occur in areas that a condom can cover.
  • Ensure that you and your partner are screened for STDs.
  • If a sexual partner has genital herpes, the risk of infection can be reduced by:
  • Commitment to taking the medication daily and discussing with the doctor.
  • Avoid vaginal, anal, or oral sex when you have herpes symptoms.
  • Avoid touching a cold sore (oral herpes) as much as possible, and when touching it, you must wash your hands immediately; To avoid spreading infection to other parts of the body or other people.

Instructions for people with herpes:

  • Keep sores clean and dry.
  • Avoid touching the sores.
  • Wash hands after any contact with sores.
  • Avoid any sexual contact from the time symptoms are noticed until the sores have healed.
  • See a doctor immediately if you notice any sores.
  • Take all medications even when symptoms disappear.
  • Talk to your doctor about how to prevent spreading the virus to someone else.

Re-Emergence of Virus (Genital Herpes):
The symptoms of genital herpes can come and go, but the virus remains inside the body even after all signs of infection are gone. The virus becomes "active" from time to time. Which leads to the spread of the disease.
Some people have it only once or twice, others may have it four or five times in a year, over time they usually occur less frequently and are less severe.

Having sex when infected with herpes:

  • Talk to your sexual partner about the infection.
  • Using a condom may help reduce these risks but it will not eliminate the risk completely.
  • The presence of sores or other symptoms of herpes can increase the risk of spreading the disease.
  • Even when there are no symptoms, the infection can still be transmitted to a sexual partner.

The relation between genital herpes and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV):
Herpes infection can cause sores or cracks in the skin or the lining of the mouth, vagina, and rectum. This provides a way for HIV to enter the body even without visible sores. Herpes increases the number of immune cells in the lining of the genitals, which leads to HIV targeting. for these immune cells to enter the body.

Breastfeeding and genital herpes:
In most cases, the herpes virus cannot be transmitted to the child through breast milk. However, the child can become infected by touching the herpes sore on the mother’s body. Breastfeeding is possible when infected with genital herpes, if no herpes sore in one of the breasts, as the infection can spread to any part of the breast, including the nipple and areola, but when there is any sore from genital herpes in one or both breasts:

  • Breastfeeding can continue as long as the infant or the pumping equipment does not touch the herpes sore.
  • Not to breastfeed a child with an ulcerous valve; Herpes spreads through contact with sores and can be dangerous to an infant.
  • Expressing milk from the breast with sores until the sores heal.
  • Expressing milk helps maintain milk supply and prevents the breasts from becoming overly full and sore.
  • Milk can be stored in a bottle to breastfeed the infant again, but if parts of the pump come into contact with the ulcer during pumping, the milk must be discarded.

Last Update : 23 August 2023 09:58 AM
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