Genital herpes is one of the most dreaded and least understood sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Unfortunately, there is no cure for this virus, meaning that those who are infected will have it for life. However, there are medications that can help to prevent or shorten outbreaks. Taking a daily anti-herpetic medication may reduce the chances of transmitting the infection to sexual partners.
It is important to note that genital herpes can be dangerous for pregnant women and their unborn child. If a woman has an outbreak during pregnancy, it increases the risk of premature birth and the fetus can become infected in the womb. This is why it is so important to take precautions if you know you have herpes. Although there is no cure, treatment can help to manage symptoms and reduce the frequency of outbreaks.
People with herpes may experience blisters on their penis, vagina, anus, throat, upper thighs, and buttocks. These blisters usually come back from time to time, but medications can help to reduce their severity. It is also important to be open and honest with your sexual partners about your condition. If you are starting a new relationship and you know that you have a herpes simplex infection, it is important to let your partner know before having sex.
Remember that herpes transmission can occur even if there are no visible symptoms due to asymptomatic viral spread. Herpes sores can appear anywhere on the body, not just around the mouth or genitals. Most people with genital herpes have no symptoms or very mild symptoms that may be overlooked or confused with another skin condition. Taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), the birth control pill, or any other type of contraceptive other than condoms will not protect you from herpes or other STIs.
Taking a small dose of anti-herpetic medicines every day can reduce the number of outbreaks by more than 90%. When HIV damages a person's immune system, they are more likely to transmit the herpes simplex virus asymptomatically. Recurrent outbreaks are usually milder than the first episode of genital herpes and, over time, tend to occur less frequently. Many new herpes infections occur by couples who transmit the virus asymptomatically, so condoms are strongly recommended.