What is Genital Herpes?
What is Genital Herpes” is a common question. First you need to understand the Herpes virus. Herpes is a family of viruses that cause cold sores, chicken pox and shingles. The most common of the Herpes family is the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), which occurs in 2 forms:
- Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) The virus that usually causes cold sores.
- Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) The virus which usually causes genital herpes
HSV-2 is Genital herpes which is a sexually transmitted infectious disease. This virus affects the genitals, as well as the skin in other parts of the body. Herpes is a virus that can spread from person to person through skin-to-skin contact. Genital herpes is usually caused by HSV-2 , but is increasingly being caused by HSV-1 because of the rising popularity of oral sex.
How do you get Genital herpes?
The main ways to contract Genital Herpes is through sexual contact with someone who has the Genital Herpes virus ACTIVE in their body. This can be either intercourse, oral or anal sex. A sore does not always have to be present, you can catch it through skin to skin contact with the active area.
This is why it is always best to practice safe sex at all times (including when give or receiving oral sex) and if you show any symptoms, avoid any form of sexual contact.
You can also get genital herpes from touching the fluid from a herpes blister and touching someone else near an opening in the body ie, genital area, mouth, eyes ect.. The fluid from the lesion/ blister is extremely contagious.
And an infected mother can pass the herpes virus on to her child during childbirth. This is only true if the mother’s genital herpes is active and she gives birth naturally. The statistics of a mother passing genital herpes to her baby is 1 in 3,000-5,000.
The First Outbreak
The first Genital Herpes outbreak is always the most severe and effects the whole body.
Once you have come in contact with the Genital Herpes virus the incubation period from when you catch the herpes virus until the first outbreak is usually 2-26 days.
The first signs and symptoms of the genital herpes virus may differ from person to person but generally you may feel like you have:
- A very bad flu
- Swollen glands
- Seem run down
- Have body aches
- Itching and tingling
You may feel very achy and have an itchy and tingling sensation in the groin area. Blisters or lesions will then appear in the genital area and stay from2-4 weeks on average.
It can be for longer, depending on the person. Catching genital herpes in men is the same as catching genital herpes in woman.
1 in 8 people have Genital Herpes
How common is Genital Herpes?
Genital herpes has become one of the most common STD (sexually transmitted disease), it effects 1 in 8 people.
Genital Herpes is twice as common in adult women (1 in 6) as in adult men (1 in 12).
80% of people caring the genital herpes virus do not know they have it and in turn unknowingly pass it onto their partners.
In fact 65% of people claim that there partners didn’t know they had it.
Hence it was passed on in the viral shedding phase (Simply it is when the virus has “Surfaced” to the skin, no lesion is apparent though the virus is considered contagious during this period).
80% of people with Genital Herpes DO NOT know they have it!
So in conclusion : what is Genital Herpes?
To paraphrase “what is genital herpes?” It is a highly contagious STD passed on through skin to skin contact with the active area. It causes uncomfortable lesions and an itching and tingling sensation in the and around the groin area. Good news is genital herpes is not life threatening and if proper treatment is taken, you can live a completely normal life.
I hope this answers your question “What is genital herpes.”