What is Herpes?
According to the CDC, genital herpes is a “virus that causes painful blisters and sores near the genital areas and/or the rectum.” These sores become less frequent over the years, however the kicker about herpes is that there is no cure. Unlike some of the other STDs like chlamydia or gonorrhea, you can’t take a quick antibiotic and get rid of herpes. Unfortunately, it stays with you for life. Now eventually the blisters will scab over and heal, and you won’t suffer indefinitely. However, you’ll never totally get rid of the herpes virus. Makes you wonder why it’s the punchline of so many jokes, huh? Especially since,
“Nationwide, 16.2%, or about one out of six, people 14 to 49 years of age have genital HSV-2 infection,” – CDC.
How do you get Genital Herpes?
The number one way to contract genital herpes is to sleep with someone who has genital herpes. That’s obvious. Within herpes, there are actually two viruses: HSV-1 and HSV-2. With HSV-2, you can generally transmit that sexually and that’s when the blisters near your “privates” appear. However with HSV-1, these blisters often show up near the mouth or lips. Any skin-on-skin contact in fashion with someone who has the herpes virus puts you at risk for also contracting herpes.
Signs of Herpes
Herpes is bad news not only because cannot get rid of the virus, but many times, you don’t even realize you have the virus. The nasty sores that appear as a complication aren’t always around – so if you’ve not had any genital-area sores or mouth sores, you may not realize you have herpes.
While the sores are the main symptom, others can include:
- Tiny red bumps near the genitals
- Blisters that turn into oozing ulcers anywhere “below the belt”
- Painful urination
- Sore back
- Headache, muscle-ache and fever
Do you have Herpes?
Here’s the thing about herpes: if you have it, you have it. And it’s important to know that if you have it, you need to protect others. While you won’t always suffer from the symptoms it can bring, you’ll need to always be on guard and know how to how to treat it and protect others. Start by getting an STD test to confirm. and go from there. There’s really nothing funny about it.
Learn more about Herpes:
CDC: Fact Sheet on Herpes
Mayo Clinic: Symptoms of Herpes