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All About Herpes

One of the most prolific STDs in the world, herpes is attributed to two varieties known as HSV-1 and HSV-2 and is estimated by the World Health Organization to be present in 79% of the global population of approximately 4.1 billion people[1]. HSV-1 is known to cause the more common oral herpes while HSV-2 is known to cause the less common STD, genital herpes.

The shockingly large number of infections is thought to be because the vast majority of people who have contracted herpes don’t even know that they have it and the infection is therefore unwittingly and unknowingly propagated throughout the population. One of the main reasons for this is that HSV-1 infections show little or no noticeable symptoms.

HSV-1

The most common and more prevalent of the two variants, HSV-1 can be contracted in a non-sexual manner and is transmitted via saliva. Because of this, is it very easy to both transmit and contract this herpes variant by simple everyday interactions such as kissing someone or sharing a food utensil or anything else that might touch the lips or saliva such as lipstick and lip balm[2] and like chlamydia or gonorrhea, HSV-1 can be asymptomatic.

HSV-2

A serious sexually transmitted infection, HSV-2 is transmitted and contracted via vaginal, oral, anal, and object-based (sex toys) sexual intercourse and infection is based on exposure to the disease above all other factors, including, age, sexual orientation, and race, however, a weakened immune system and the presence of another STI can increase the chances of infection[2].

It should be noted that you can contract genital herpes (HSV-2) via oral sex contact with someone afflicted with HSV-1[2].

Testing for Herpes

As noted, a concerning aspect of the herpes virus is that there are not many noticeable symptoms by which you can tell if you have it, especially HSV-1. Whereas other STIs might have clear and defining characteristics such as itching, discharge, and visible symptoms, herpes type 1 can go unnoticed. You can have herpes type 1 and not know it, and this is what accounts for the high infection rate.

Sexually transmitted herpes variant 2 is more prevalent in women at 20% of the population and much lower at 10% of men. This has been attributed to the easier transmission of male to female infection than that of female to male, with HSV-2 being more common among the African community[3].

Male Symptoms of HSV-2

HSV-1 usually presents itself as common cold sores or blisters around the mouth but HSV-2 can cause some concerning issues with the penis.

If you have any of the following symptoms then you might be infected with herpes type 2:

  • Painful or itching penis
  • Visible white bumps
  • Red blisters
  • Ulcers
  • Scabs
  • Headaches

Female Symptoms of HSV-2

Women will experience more issues than men when it comes to the effects of herpes and alarmingly, herpes is one of the few STIs that can be passed on to the baby during pregnancy[4].

Typical female herpes symptoms include:

  • Itching, tingling or burning vagina and anus
  • Painful legs, buttocks, and vagina
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Headaches
  • Pain when urinating
  • Sores, blisters, and ulcers on the vagina, urinary tract, mouth, anus, or cervix

Any of these male and female symptoms could be an indication of herpes and you should get tested as soon as possible.

Rapid Screening for Herpes

For both men and women, both herpes variants can be present even if you are in a monogamous relationship, but type 2 is more common if you or your partner(s) have had sexual interaction with another or more than one partner. In case of one or more symptoms, all partners should be advised to have themselves tested as well since they may have contracted herpes from you, or you from them, and might not even be aware of it.

Testing for herpes, and indeed all STDs, is quick, easy, and inexpensive. You could of course book an appointment at a free sexual health clinic but these usually take a long time to organize, aren’t available everywhere, and often operate at unsuitable opening times.

In most cases, you should consider private testing since it can offer the best and quickest results possible with none of the disadvantages of a public health center. Rapid STD Testing[5] requires no appointment, a quick visit to one of their 4,000+ labs, offers phone consulting and is open all day, every day.

Rapid screening is an excellent solution for many reasons, including:

  • You are in a new relationship.
  • You are concerned that you have come into contact with herpes.
  • You have cheated.
  • You suspect your partner might have cheated.
  • You are fully sexually active with multiple partners.
  • You want to keep insurance rates low.
  • You want fast, accurate, and confidential results.

How the Rapid STD Testing Process Works

Rapid STD Testing offers an excellent screening service for herpes and the process is quick and easy, but there are some very specific steps that you will have to go through in order to get the best service possible:

  1. Provide details on the situation and any symptoms you are concerned about.
  2. Schedule testing at a lab as close to your location as possible. Same day testing, and no appointment needed.
  3. Get your online STD results in 1-3 working days and view them via a secure link online.
  4. If you are positive, you will get a call from an MD with advice on treatment.

How to Treat Herpes

As part of the service, Rapid STD Testing will facilitate communication between yourself and a qualified medical doctor. The doctor is able to advise you on any treatments that you require, answer questions about any concerns you may have, and prescribe medication if it is required.

Common antiviral STD treatment products for herpes are very effective among patients and should be taken within 5 days of the first appearance of symptoms if either you or a partner have recently tested positive for the disease.

Zovirax, Famvir, and Valtrex are common treatments for herpes but certain allergies or medical conditions might prevent the prescription of one or another. In most cases, Zovirax is the most effective and these are all pills that are taken orally. In severe cases, it might be necessary to use Acyclovir intravenously[6].

Prevention of Herpes

As with most viruses, prevention is better than the cure, and HSV-2 genital herpes can be reduced or prevented in a number of ways. If you are able, then try to limit your sexual contact where possible and make sure you and your partner(s) are sexually sanitary and hygienic, with regular testing.

You should always engage in safe sex where possible and this means using prophylactics (condoms) for penetrative, oral, and anal sex as well as on any sex toys so as to minimize the transmission of the herpes virus.

If this isn’t possible, then make sure you properly clean sex toys and marital aids before and after use with anti-bacterial cleaning products that are safe for human skin. Most retail chains and specialist sex shops sell cleaning products designed specifically for intimate areas and sex toys.

In non-sexual cases where the risk of HSV-1 might occur, do not share everyday items with anybody else. This includes such things as eating utensils, make-up such as lipstick and towels. If you are infected or you live with someone who is, then ensure proper arrangements can be made for someone with HSV-1 to have their own items that they alone use.

If you suspect that you have been exposed to herpes then don’t delay. Contact Rapid STD Testing at 866-872-1888 and explore your testing and treatment options today.

References

  1. Medical News Today. How Many People Have Herpes. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/how-many-people-have-herpes
  2. Healthline. Herpes Simplex. https://www.healthline.com/health/herpes-simplex
  3. Web MD. How Common is Genital Herpes. https://www.webmd.com/sex/how-common-genital-herpes
  4. Healthline. Birth-Acquired Herpes. https://www.healthline.com/health/birth-acquired-herpes
  5. Rapid STD Testing. https://www.rapidstdtesting.com/
  6. Web MD. Gential Herpes Treatment Options. https://www.webmd.com/genital-herpes/genital-herpes-treatment-options