Genital Herpes: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

Genital herpes is a highly sexually transmitted infection in men and women and usually spreads through contact with an infected person, transmitted through oral or anal sex. It can also spread even when the wound is not visible. Then, the question arises, whether genital herpes can fully recover?

Herpes is a very contagious disease. Transmission of genital herpes can occur in various ways. The most important transmission of genital herpes is of course through intercourse. However, genital herpes can also be transmitted to newborns during birth if the mother has an active infection in the pubic area.

Genital herpes is an infection that can cause pain, itching and sores in your genital area, as quoted by the Mayo Clinic. But you may not have signs or symptoms of genital herpes. If infected, you can be contagious if there are no visible wounds.

There is no cure for genital herpes, but drugs can relieve symptoms and reduce the risk of infecting others. Condoms can also help prevent the transmission of severe herpes.

Causes and Transmission of Genital Herpes

Usually, genital infections are caused by herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2), although herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) is increasingly the cause of this disease. This can spread through an infected partner who does not have any injuries and may not know he has this disease.

Two types of herpes simplex virus infections can cause genital herpes:


This is the type that usually causes cold sores or blistering fever around your mouth. HSV-1 often spreads through skin-to-skin contact, although it can spread to your genital area during oral sex. Recurrence is less common than HSV-2 infection.


This is a type of herpes virus that usually causes genital herpes. The virus spreads through sexual contact and skin-to-skin contact. HSV-2 is very common and very contagious, whether you are openly ill or not.

Because the virus dies quickly outside the body, it is almost impossible to get an infection through contact with a toilet, towel or other object used by an infected person.

How often does genital herpes occur?

A minimum of 45 million adults and adolescents in America have genital herpes, this happens every 4-5 people, making genital herpes the most common sexually transmitted disease.

Since the late 1970s, the number of sufferers of herpes henital infection in America has increased by as much as 30 percent in adolescents and young adults.

Because the virus dies quickly outside the body, it is almost impossible to get an infection through contact with a toilet, towel or other object used by an infected person.

Risk Factors for Transmission of Genital Herpes

The risk of being infected with genital herpes can increase if you:

  • A woman: Women are more likely to have genital herpes than men. This virus is transmitted sexually more easily from men to women than from women to men.
  • Changing sexual partners: Each additional sexual partner increases your risk of contracting the virus that causes genital herpes.

Symptoms of Genital Herpes

Most people who are infected with genital herpes have minimal signs or symptoms, or even no signs or symptoms of genital herpes. The first attack or symptoms of genital herpes are usually followed by the following signs:

  • The skin or area of ​​the sex organs becomes inflamed, itchy, like burning, or painful
  • Inflammation looks like a burn, which is shiny in the sex organs or around the genitals
  • Inflammation opens, dries like crust, then heals

Symptoms of genital herpes can also be felt when the virus first appears, namely:

  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Muscle ache.

The first attack of herpes can last for several weeks. After the first attack, the virus will stay in the nervous system, where the virus does not actually die, until the immune system weakens or something triggers it so the virus is active again.

Subsequent attacks can appear several weeks to several months after the first attack, but are not as severe as the first attack, and the duration is shorter than the first episode. Although infections persist in the body, attacks will become less frequent with time.

Triggers Genital Herpes recurs

This depends on the individual person, but most report a recurrence if:

  • Stress
  • Being hit by another disease
  • Undergo surgery
  • Diet
  • Menstruation
  • Having sex is too tiring

Diagnosis of Genital Herpes

The doctor will diagnose herpes by visual inspection (see) because herpes attacks are indeed typical, and examine inflammation samples. HSV infection will be difficult to diagnose if there is a relapse or attack.

The doctor will check the internal wounds on the woman’s cervix and urethra in men. Blood tests that detect HSV-1 or HSV-2 antibodies can help, although they are difficult

Treatment of Genital Herpes

Can genital herpes completely recover? The answer is no. There is no cure for genital herpes, but doctors can prescribe antiviral drugs (acyclovir) in the form of pills or ointments that can speed healing of inflammation.

Pain relievers can also be prescribed to reduce discomfort. This might be the only treatment for genital herpes.

If it recurs, then genital herpes treatment can be done by giving antivirals such as acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir.

Genital Herpes Affects Pregnant Women and Fetus

The occurrence of genital herpes during pregnancy can cause fetal defects, stillbirths, premature births, and fetal brain damage, and blindness in infants. In some cases, women with herpes give birth to healthy babies.

Prevention of Genital Herpes

There are several things that can be a way to prevent genital herpes, including the following.

  • Do not have sex with people who have inflammation in their genitals
  • Always use a condom when having sex
  • Limit the number of your sexual partners.

Taking antiviral drugs can reduce the risk of people with genital herpes spreading the virus, but does not eliminate the risk.

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