Herpes is a common viral infection that can affect your mouth or genitals
How is it spread?
People are often unaware that they have been infected as a large number of people experience very mild to no symptoms. Sometimes the symptoms of herpes are so mild people confuse them with pimples, ingrown hairs or the flu so regular testing is essential!
Itchy or painful blisters/sores are the most common symptoms of herpes
These can affect your vagina, vulva, cervix, penis, butt, anus, or the inside of your thighs.
Other symptoms you should look out for are:
Burning when you go to the toilet
pain around your genitals
Some people also experience flu-like symptoms, such as:
Muscle aches and pains
Fatigue and tiredness
Swollen glands in your throat, under your arms or in the groin area
After a person first gets infected it usually takes between 2-20 days for episodes to appear although occasionally it can take years before the first herpes episode.
After the first episode the blisters go away however the virus remains in your system so it is common to get repeated outbreaks however they tend to be less painful and shorter than the initial one. Most people find theat they get fewer outbreaks as time goes on and in some people they stop altogether.
You may notice some warning symptoms before an outbreak such as tingling, itching or burning.
Oral herpes affects the mouth and tends to be less painful than genital herpes
Small blisters called cold sores can appear on the lips/around the mouth
Cold sores tend to go away on their own after about 1-2 weeks
As with genital herpes you may notice warning symptoms before a cold sore such as burning, itching or tingling
Some people find there are triggers for a cold sore such as being rundown, stressed or their menstrual period
Herpes is sometimes confused for ingrown hairs or pimples!
Can affect the vagina, vulva, cervix, penis, bum, anus, or the inside of your thighs
Its spread through skin-to-skin contact
How is it spread?
It is spread through sexual skin to skin contact with an infected person including vaginal, anal and oral sex.
How is it treated?
There is currently no cure for Herpes but the good news is herpes is rarely fatal and doesn't progress
There are medications you can use to prevent outbreaks or to reduce the pain and severity of an outbreak
To learn more about this speak to a physician.
How do I prevent it?
The best preventative method is avoiding any contact with another person's mouth or genitals but since thats not likely for a significant number of us.. contraception is your next best bet!
Condoms are your friends! They provide a very effective way of preventing STDs.
Want to know more about condoms? Click here.
Dental dams are also a very effective way of preventing STDs when engaging in oral sex.
Finally regular testing is extremely important in maintaining sexual health. You should aim to get tested at least once a year or every time you change sexual partners.
Finally regular testing is extremely important in maintaining sexual health. You should aim to get tested at least once a year or every time you change sexual partner.
Condoms are an effective way of protecting yourself against herpes