Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Simple Overview To Genital Herpes And How To Talk To Your Children About It

Genital herpes is one of the most commonly occurring Sexually Transmitted Diseases in the world and it is caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus.

There are two variations of the virus: type 1 also referred to as HSV-1 and type 2 commonly known as HSV-2. Type 1 which is the reason behind the cold sores you might see people sporting on their lips and type 2 which is most commonly responsible for genital herpes.

Genital herpes has no preference when it comes to gender, age or social status. It affects men and women, teenagers and adults, single and married people.

A person can only get infected during sexual contact with someone who is already infected. The most common way to transmit the HSV virus is thru sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse can be vaginal, anal or oral sex. Most people have none to very minimal signs or symptoms from type 1 or type 2 infections. When signs do occur, they tend to appear as small blisters in the pubic and anal region of the person infected. These blisters break leaving sores that may take several weeks to heal. In most cases, the first outbreak is the most severe with signs and symptoms that include flu-like symptoms, fever and swollen glands. Outbreaks tend to happen less often and less severe over time.

When a person has an outbreak, which means that the blisters are present, they are more likely to transmit the disease. That doesn't mean that someone who is infected with genital herpes and doesn't have blisters is safe. They're not. Safe sex practices do need to be followed regardless of the presence of blisters.

The only accurate way to be diagnosed with genital herpes is by getting a blood test though most diagnosis are visual when sores are present. When you are diagnosed with genital herpes you may view that as the end of your sexual life. It's not. Many people live with this condition and enjoy active intimate lives. There are multiple sites dedicated to introduce singles with herpes for dating.

Some surprising facts about genital herpes that many people aren't aware of include:

* Approximately 1 million people are infected with genital herpes each year. * In the United States it's estimated that 1 in 5 people are infected with genital herpes. * Type-2 infections are more common in women than in men. * Up to 90% of people who are infected with genital herpes aren't aware of it.

In order to manage this condition you do need to be diagnosed by a doctor. That's the first step towards treatment. Although there isn't an available cure for genital herpes it can be managed by oral medication known as suppressive therapy.

If you are a parent, you shouldn't wait to start talking to your children about genital herpes and do not expect their school to educate them about STDs. It is best to start educating your children when they are in their pre-teen or early teen years.

If your partner or child confides in you that he or she may have genital herpes or you suspect that you may be infected, plan a visit to your physician as soon as possible.