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Genital Herpes

Genital Herpes is an infection caused by a virus called herpes, there are many different types of herpes virus. One of them (HSV1) causes cold sores but genital herpes is mainly caused by HSV2.

How do you get it?

It is a sexually transmitted disease so can be passed on by oral, vaginal or anal sex. Use a condom to stop getting it or passing it on. A condom will not prevent you from getting it if you are giving oral sex to someone with herpes.

What does it feel and look like?

It takes from 2-20 days of having sex with someone with herpes for you to start getting symptoms for the first time.

If you have genital herpes, you usually get an itching, tingling or sore feeling down below and then red bumps start appearing. The bumps can be anywhere in your genital area: in your vagina, on your penis, on your bum, on your testicles. The bumps soon begin to become blisters with fluid in them and then they open up, the fluid leaks out. After that, the sores start to crust over and heal. All of this can take 2-4 weeks. The bad thing about herpes is that it is really painful. It can hurt to pee and sometimes even to sit down because everything down below is really tender.

Can you treat herpes?

We can treat the pain and reduce how long herpes lasts but we cannot make herpes go away. If you have an outbreak of herpes, come in and talk to us. Taking a bath with salty water might help the pain and we can give you some painkillers. We can give you a medicine called acyclovir to help shorten the time the bumps last. It is best to avoid sex until the sores are all crusted over because it is painful and because you may be passing on an STI to your partner. If this is the first time you are getting herpes, we will ask to check you for other STIs. When you have one, you often have others.

Is there a cure for herpes?

Another bad thing about herpes is that it stays in your body.

This means that even after you get rid of the bumps the first time, the virus stays in you and can come out at any time to cause those painful bumps. This does not happen to everyone but you cannot tell who is going to get one of those viruses that wants to come and annoy you when you least need it. So after one outbreak of herpes, many people get other outbreaks. This also means that you can catch herpes from people who do not have lesions on their genitals. They look ok but the virus is actually able to get passed on if you have unprotected sex. Another reason to always wrap it up and use a condom.

If you do get lots of herpes outbreaks, come in and talk to us. We might be able to give you a medicine to stop it happening so often or make sure there is nothing else going on.

What if you are pregnant and get herpes?

Herpes can be dangerous for the baby, especially if this is the first time you are getting the infection. Come in and see us. Passing the virus on to the baby might mean it gets an infection in the brain and has seizures or brain damage.