Genital herpes is caused by the HSV or the herpes simplex virus and is one of the most common viral infections that can infect the mouth and genitals. The virus has two types, which are type 1 or HSV-1 and type 2 or HSV-2. The lesions that both HSV types cause look alike which only a laboratory testing can distinguish.
The first time experience of an HSV infection with symptoms produces severe reactions to the body as it is the first time for the immune system to come in contact with the virus.
The initial infection of HSV can take as long as 20 days and the symptoms that are expected will include specific symptoms from the genital area such as blisters or sores, fever, and pains and aches. There are other people though, who will only experience mild symptoms after the initial infection which could mostly lead it to be undiagnosed and unrecognized.
Most people who get infected with genital herpes will not feel any symptoms. For people who have experienced a previous cold sore infection, the symptoms may be less serious while others none at all especially when they had built a resistance to HSV1.
If ever there are symptoms, it begins with pain or burning, tingling, itching accompanied by an appearance of red and painful spots which changes after a day or two to blisters filled with clear fluid that quickly turn a yellowish-white color.
The blisters will eventually burst resulting in painful ulcers which when it has become dry, will heal and form a scab after 10 days.
There are cases where new blisters form over the ulcer stage, prolonging the episode of the initial infection. But then, there will also be a non-blister stage with only appearances of skin ulcers that may look like cracks or cuts in the skin.
There are women infected with genital herpes that manifest vaginal discharges.
There are no exact signs and symptoms for every person infected with genital herpes. There are women who experience pain and burning sensation when urinating which can be helped by drinking plenty of fluids that can reduce the pain when the urine is diluted.
Close skin-to-skin contact during sex transmits herpes. People infected with herpes can be infectious even when there are no present symptoms.
Cold sores or oral herpes lesions can infect the genital area when engaged in oral sex. If one partner has a cold sore, oral sex must be avoided. Most women get genital herpes infection through oral sex.
There is a reduced chance of transmitting herpes if condoms are used between outbreaks or abstaining from sex when symptoms are present. Herpes infection will be at very low risk if a combination of using condoms at all sexual activity and daily intake of retroviral drugs are followed.
Sharing of toilet seats and towels with an infected person is not a possible way of transmitting the infection. The herpes virus cannot survive for a few seconds outside a host body. Soap and water can also kill the virus.