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Genital Herpes

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The herpes simplex virus (HSV) causes genital herpes, a common sexually transmitted infection (STI). It is transmitted by sexual intercourse, including vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone infected with the virus, even if they have no apparent sores or symptoms. HSV comes in two varieties: HSV-1 and HSV-2. While HSV-1 is most commonly associated with oral herpes (cold sores), it can also induce genital herpes during oral intercourse. The development of painful sores or blisters on or around the genitals, anus, thighs, or buttocks is a defining feature of genital herpes. Other symptoms may include itching, burning during urination, swollen lymph nodes in the groin, and flu-like symptoms such as fever and body aches. The virus remains dormant in nerve cells after the first infection and can reawaken on a regular basis, triggering outbreaks. Physical examination and laboratory testing, such as viral culture or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays from a swab of the afflicted area, are commonly used to make a diagnosis. Although there is no cure for genital herpes, antiviral drugs such as acyclovir, valacyclovir, or famciclovir can help control symptoms, reduce the frequency of outbreaks, and limit the risk of spreading the virus to others. Living with genital herpes entails managing outbreaks and taking care to prevent the virus from spreading. To limit the risk of transmission during epidemics, it is advised to avoid sexual activities, especially oral sex. Consistent and proper condom use can further reduce the chance of transmission, albeit they may not give complete protection because the virus can be present in places not covered by the condom. Beyond physical health, genital herpes can have an emotional and mental impact. The stigma associated with STIs might cause feelings of shame, remorse, or misery. Open conversation with sexual partners, knowledge about the condition, and seeking support from healthcare professionals or support groups can all help with the emotional elements of genital herpes. Individuals with genital herpes must inform their sexual partners about their illness, even if they are not having symptoms at the time. This transparency enables partners to make informed sexual health decisions and take the appropriate safeguards to prevent transmission. It is recommended to have regular medical check-ups to monitor the condition and discuss any concerns or changes in symptoms.