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What is Herpes Simplex Virus and How Do You Treat It?

Genital herpes is a common STD that results from an infection of the herpes simplex virus (HSV). It can infect the genitals, anus, or mouth when spread through vaginal, oral, or anal sex.

HSV can appear as two strains: HSV-1 and HSV-2.

In general, HSV-1 infects the mouth and HSV-2 infects the genitals. However, someone can contract a genital HSV-1 infection if they receive oral sex from someone infected with HSV-1. Similarly, someone can become infected with HSV-2 in their mouth if they give oral sex to someone with genital herpes.

Symptoms of Herpes

Herpes often presents with no symptoms or very mild symptoms that can often be mistaken for a pimple or ingrown hair.

One of the symptoms of herpes is a herpes sore, which appears as one or more blisters. These blisters then break and leave behind painful sores that can take a week or more to heal.

During the first outbreak of herpes, someone may also experience flu-like symptoms such as body aches, fever, or swollen glands.

Treatment for Herpes

There is no cure for herpes. When the initial outbreak fades, HSV moves into your nerve cells where it remains for the rest of your life. However, just because you are infected with it for life does not mean that you consistently experience an active infection.

Herpes typically lies dormant and may only awaken in certain circumstances, such as when you are under stress or pregnant. Outbreaks become less frequent and severe the longer that you have had herpes.

Despite there being no cure, medication is still available to help with your infection. There is antiviral medication that can be taken during an outbreak to lessen its severity and duration. There is also long-term suppressive treatment that helps to prevent the transmission of herpes to a sexual partner.

Protect Yourself from Herpes

Not treating herpes can lead to a more severe outbreak that lasts longer. Additionally, it makes it more likely for you to pass herpes on to someone else.

Pregnant women are at an especially high risk of passing along herpes if they refrain from treatment. Not only can they pass herpes to their child before birth (although less common) they can also pass along herpes to their baby during the birthing process. Because of this, it is often recommended to take herpes medication toward the end of the pregnancy and undergo an examination before giving birth to check for herpes sores.

What Happens If HSV Is Left Untreated?

It is recommended for anyone who is sexually active to receive an annual STD screening. However, it is also best to receive a screening at any point that you think you may have come into contact with an STD or when pregnant.

For those looking for an STD test in Dubai, DNA Health & Wellness Dubai has many different STD test packages that test a range of STDs. Gain peace of mind by receiving an STD screening that checks for herpes and various other STDs, ranging in prices from AED 1,000 to AED 1,400 based on how many STDs the test screens for.  

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