Herpes is a viral infection that can attack both men and women. There are two types of herpes : herpes simplex virus – type 1, which we think of as cold sores, and herpes simplex virus – type 2, which is genital herpes, classically considered a sexually transmitted disease. It has been estimated between 45 and 60 million Americans have been infected with genital herpes, which is roughly 1 in 5 adults. The CDC thinks about a million Americans get infected every year with genital herpes.
At least 60% of the population in the U.S. will test positive for antibodies to herpes type 1, and 30-50% will test positive for herpes type 2.
In the video below, several symptoms of herpes are presented. Herpes proceeds in stages. The main recommendation is to have yourself tested for herpes should you observe these symptoms.
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Can someone un-knowingly spread the virus?
A significant number of people have no idea they are infected with the virus. One may have a minimal initial outbreak, then every now and then some itching, burning without even realizing they have the virus at all. You have to worry about spreading the herpes virus even when you are not having an outbreak.
In the past, testing for antibodies was not as accurate as it is now, but thanks to newer, improved tests, available since 2006, medical science can finally accurately pinpoint who has herpes.
Symptoms of Genital Herpes
The first, or primary outbreak of genital herpes may frequently feel like one is coming down with the flu. You may run a fever, and then get painful, stinging blisters, and ulcers in the genital area. Symptoms are an irritation in the area where the herpes is going to break out. First, a feeling of tingling or some redness, which turns into a blister or cluster of blisters, and the blisters open into sores, which heal over time. The incubation period is traditionally 3-20 days, different from other viral diseases in the same category. On occasion, doctors sometimes have to admit women into the hospital, because of the extensive nature of the outbreak.
Someone in an asymptomatic state gives the virus to their sexual partner, whereupon the newly infected individual breaks out with a viral infection, leading to severe recrimination.
Sometimes, the genital herpes virus goes into full bloom, similar to the phenomenon of pollen being sometimes shed in clusters. Similarly, the herpes virus can go into a bloom, and shed from areas around the cervix, or other infected tissues. The “pollen” is there to attack somebody else.
Is There a Safe Time for Sexual Activity?
It’s not possible to be sure, the only way to know is to do a culture report. However, by the time one receives the results of this culture study, it doesn’t matter anymore.