According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1 out of every 6 Americans between the ages of 14-49 have genital herpes. For women living in and around Vienna, Virginia, the care of William Garcia, MD, can help. To learn more about diagnostic or treatment options for genital herpes, schedule a visit with Dr. Garcia today. Online scheduling is available, or you can call the office and speak with a member of the administrative staff.
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease caused by two specific types of viruses, known as herpes simplex virus type 1, or HSV-1, and herpes simplex virus type 2, or HSV-2.
The HSV-1 virus causes oral herpes, which can lead to blisters or sores on and around your mouth. Genital herpes can cause painful sores or blisters around the rectum, mouth, or genitals.
Not all herpes infections cause symptoms, which leaves many men and women unaware they have the infection.
Both oral and genital herpes can spread through simple skin-to-skin contact. You can also get an infection by coming into contact with the saliva, genital secretions, or a herpes sore from an infected person.
Genital herpes can spread through oral, vaginal, or anal sex. It’s important to understand that herpes can spread even if there’s no visible sore.
Contracting the disease requires direct contact. You can’t catch herpes from shared surfaces like a toilet seat, towels, silverware, and so on.
Because herpes spreads so easily, it’s impossible to completely avoid all risk unless you abstain from all forms of sexual contact. For women who are sexually active, the best level of protection is to remain in a mutually monogamous relationship in which both partners have been tested for herpes.
Using latex condoms during every sexual encounter, and using a dental dam during oral sex, can lower your risk. It’s critical to use condoms properly, and you should understand that condoms don’t cover every area of the body where the herpes virus might be present.
If one partner has genital herpes, the best way to reduce the risk of infection is for that individual to take daily anti-herpes medication. You should also avoid having any type of sexual contact when herpes symptoms are present.
There’s no cure for herpes, but treatment can help manage symptoms and lessen the chance of spreading the infection. Antiviral medications prevent the herpes virus from multiplying, which helps your body clear up an outbreak faster and lessen the severity of your symptoms.
If you have an outbreak, you can treat discomfort with over-the-counter pain medications, applying petroleum jelly to the site of sores, and wearing loose-fitting clothes until your body heals.
If you’d like to be tested for herpes or are interested in treatment options, schedule an appointment with Dr. Garcia online or by phone.