Genital Herpes – Treatment, Symptoms, Modes of Transmission

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) or type 2 (HSV-2). The incubation period for genital herpes is two to fourteen days following a contact with an infected person.

When infection occurs by direct contact with a an infected person, it is not possible to cure the body of the herpes virus. Once herpes simplex infects a person, the virus goes into hiding inside nerve cells of the body part where it manifested for the first time. It can be genitals, groin, perianal area and sitting part of the body.

Genital herpes — Modes of transmission

The factors that trigger genital herpes are different and most often it can be stress, colds, some serious disease, or mechanical damage to the skin. When some of the above conditions occur, dormant virus in the nerve cells gets activated, it begins to multiply and travels along the nerve fiber to the surface of the skin where it causes the formation of tiny watery blisters full of virus particles. That is the period when a person is the most contagious and should abstain from sexual intercourse or any other direct contact with uninfected partner.

It should be noted that the condom can’t prevent the transmission of infection, and according to statistics, about twenty percent of the population (almost every fifth person) is a carrier of the genital herpes virus. In some infected people the disease never manifests, but they can pass on this extremely contagious sexually transmitted disease.

Women very often do not know that they suffer from genital herpes, because the disease manifests itself in the interior of the vagina with an increased discharge and a slight feeling of discomfort. The mother can transfer the disease to the child during pregnancy. If the infection occurs in the last month of pregnancy, a Caesarean section is required to save the newborn from infection.

Symptoms of genital herpes

Symptoms of genital herpes

Symptoms of genital herpes are a burning sensation, itching and discomfort. After 24 to 48 hours, small blisters, sores and redness appear. Sometimes it happens that the above mentioned symptoms do not develop before blisters. When herpes appears inside the vaginal mucous membrane, the only symptoms can be a burning sensation and increased vaginal discharge without revealing the bacterial causative agent. The sores last for 7 to 14 days, and after that period the mucous membrane completely recovers.

The first contact with the virus can resemble the flu symptoms with very strong reactions on the skin, encompassing large areas. Later virus manifestation will be significantly milder.

How often genital herpes will appear depends on the immune system of the infected person and it is completely individual. In periods when there are no sores and blisters, the patient does not have any health issues.

Genital herpes — Treatment

Treatment of genital herpes is simple and therapy consists of antiviral drugs and antiseptic creams that effectively shorten the recovery period.

Diagnosis of genital herpes consists of the detection of virus through culture by direct preparation or the finding of immunoglobulins directed towards HSV1 or HSV2. Sometimes the listed tests are false-negative, so the diagnosis is made based on the clinical picture.

Dr. Svetlana Đurišić


Svetlana Đurišić specijalista dermatovenerologije

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