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Genital Herpes Symptoms and Treatments

Genital herpes causes, symptoms and treatment

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted viral infection which causes blisters and rashes around the genital area. It is caused by the same type of virus that causes cold sores around the mouth and cannot be cured with medication. Although the virus itself is incurable, there are medications available to help treat and prevent the symptoms from appearing, although the regularity of outbreaks depends on the person.

Genital herpes is most commonly diagnosed in people aged between 20 and 24. It is possible that an outbreak will not occur immediately, which makes it hard for people to be aware that they are infected. It can be transmitted via skin contact, which means that there is no need for penetrative sex in order to contract the virus. Genital herpes can be spread regardless of whether or not there are visible symptoms, although condoms can help to reduce the risk.

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What causes genital herpes?

Genital herpes is an infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), which is highly contagious. There are two types of this virus: HSV-1 and HSV-2, both of which can cause genital herpes, although HSV-2 is more common. It can be passed on through skin contact either through unprotected intercourse, sharing sex toys or through oral sex if one person has a cold sore, which would be caused by HSV-1.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms are unlikely to appear immediately but once you have been infected you are almost certain to suffer an outbreak at one point or another, although it can take months or even years. If you do experience symptoms after you are initially infected, these will appear around a week after you were in contact with the virus and are likely to be more severe than subsequent outbreaks. The symptoms can include blisters or sores around the affected area, pain when urinating, a high temperature, general aches and pain when passing urine.

Recurrent infections may become less severe as your body learns to fight the virus. These are often characterised by a tingling, burning or itching sensation, accompanied by blisters around the genitals.

Can genital herpes be prevented?

There is no way of being 100% sure you will not be infected with the virus, as it can be spread through skin contact as well as intercourse. However, condoms do provide some protection against this STI and making sure you are regularly tested will allow you to use a treatment before the condition worsens.

Although the virus can lay dormant for long periods of time, outbreaks do occur. There is no clear way of preventing the outbreaks but medication can help. In addition, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and avoiding exposure of the genitals to sunlight or friction can also help to avoid outbreaks.

What treatments are available for genital herpes?

Although there is no medication which can completely cure the virus once it's been contracted, you can control the outbreaks. Aciclovir is the medication which is usually prescribed for the primary (first) infection, as it prevents HSV from multiplying during the outbreak. You will usually need to take it for seven to 10 days depending on the dosage and how long the symptoms take to clear up. For subsequent outbreaks there are other medications available, such as Famvir or Valtrex.

Can I buy the medication online?

You can buy Aciclovir, Famvir and Valtrex online at 121doc after filling out an online medical consultation. This will be completely free and confidential and serves as a way of helping us to assess whether it is the right medication for you. If you are issued a prescription, we will dispatch your order from the pharmacy and it will reach you within 24 hours.

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