Transmission: Herpes is spread by direct sexual skin-to-skin contact with the infected site during vaginal, anal or oral sex. Another strain of the virus, Herpes Simplex Type 1 (HSV-1) is most commonly spread by nonsexual contact and usually causes sores on the lips. However, HSV-1 can also be transmitted through oral sex and can cause genital infections.
Symptoms: Symptoms are often very mild and may include an itching or burning sensation; pain in the legs, buttocks or genital area; or vaginal discharge. Blisters or painful open sores may appear, usually in the genital area, buttocks, anus, and thighs, although they can erupt anywhere. Sores heal after several weeks but may recur.
Treatment: There is no known cure. An anti-viral drug is usually effective in reducing the frequency and duration of HSV-2 outbreaks.
Impact on Infected Person: An infected person with sores present has an increased risk that exposure to HIV will lead to infection because the sores provide an entry point for the AIDS virus.
Impact on Fetus or Newborn: Women who develop a first episode of genital herpes curing pregnancy may be at higher risk for premature delivery. Outbreaks present during labor usually indicate the need for a cesarean delivery because infection passed to the newborn during childbirth may result in possible death or serious brain damage.
Preventive Measures: Abstaining from vaginal, anal and oral sex with an infected person is the only 100% effective means of preventing the sexual transmission of genital herpes. Latex condoms can reduce but not eliminate the risk of contracting the disease during sex. However, it is still possible to contract genital herpes, even while using a condom, via sores in the genital area.
**This web site's goal is to provide you with information that may be useful in attaining optimal health. Nothing in it is meant as a prescription or as medical advice. You should check with your physician before implementing any changes in your exercise or lifestyle habits, especially if you have physical problems or are taking medications of any kind.