What is Herpes?

HSV or the herpes simplex virus is a common infection causing genital herpes. The surrounding genital area including the genitals can be covered by painful blisters when infected by HSV.

HSV is always referred as an STI or sexually transmitted infection as it is passed through sexual intercourse.

Any moist lining or mucous lining such as the mouth can be affected by HSV. The growth of cold sores in the mouth could be caused by HSV.

Getting infected with genital herpes will give you a long-term or chronic health condition. The virus lies dormant in your body which could become active anytime. For the first two years after infection, recurrence average will be around four to five times. In time, outbreaks will be less often and severe.

The herpes simplex virus has two types which are type 1 and type 2. All types are highly infectious which can be transmitted easily to other people by direct contact.

Having sexual relations through oral, vaginal or anal with an infected person will infect you with genital herpes. An infected person will always be capable of passing the infection even if he or she does not show any signs and symptoms.

Most infected people have no idea that they have acquired the infection because of the absence of initial symptoms or the few symptoms experienced. A genital herpes outbreak can happen when something triggers and activates the virus.

HSV is a common infection particularly in sexually active people ages 20-24 years old.

Genital herpes has no cure. Retroviral drugs can alleviate the symptoms, but it cannot cure the disease. Because of this, it is very important that genital herpes should be prevented from spreading by using a condom to all engaged sexual activity, and, if under treatment, to abstain from sex until the symptoms have been alleviated.

Acquiring the infection during pregnancy could give serious health complications depending on factors such as having the infection before getting pregnant, or getting it for the first time while being pregnant.

The health risk to a baby is very low if you already have genital herpes before getting pregnant. It is due to the protective antibodies that have been passed to the baby during the few months of pregnancy. These protective antibodies are proteins that can fight off an infection which could protect the baby during and after birth.

The baby is not exposed to high risk even when genital herpes episodes recurred during your entire pregnancy. However, when this is happening, antiviral medication should be taken such as acyclovir from 36 weeks of pregnancy up to the time of birth to reduce the symptoms.

If infected with genital herpes for the first time from the first trimester to 26 weeks of pregnancy, there is a high risk of losing the pregnancy. If the pregnancy goes through a full term, passing the virus to the baby is very possible.

The way to prevent passing on the virus to the baby is to take antiviral medication continuously until birth.