Herpes Treatment Bethesda, VA
Herpes | Overview
Herpes is an infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). The infection is characterized by the appearance of tiny ulcers or scabs. Bumps and blisters are also common. These can cause itchiness and pain (including painful urination). Herpes is typically thought of as a sexually transmitted disease but may be contracted following exposure to the virus during non-sexual activities.
Signs of infection typically begin to occur within 2-10 days of exposure to the virus. The initial outbreak is commonly accompanied by flu-like symptoms. The virus is very easy to transmit and affects as many as one in five adults in the United States. Having unprotected sex or having multiple sexual partners may greatly increase your risk of contracting the virus.
Herpes | Types of Herpes
There are two types of the herpes virus. Herpes simplex type 1 (HSV1) is most often seen in cold sores. It is often referred to as “oral herpes” although it can exist on the genitals. It is typically spread to the genitals after receiving oral sex from someone with HSV-1 on their mouth.
The second type of virus is known as herpes simplex type 2 (HSV2). This form of the virus typically affects areas below the belt. Similar to HSV-1, however, HSV-2 can infect the mouth and is often contracted after giving oral sex to someone with HSV-2 on their genitals.
Herpes | Symptoms
Herpes of the mouth (also called “cold sores”) are characterized by:
- Pain/erosion of gums
- Sore throat
Genital herpes, on the other hand, is best defined by:
- Sores in the anus or genitals
- Itching or redness
- Ulcers (which often bleed or emit a discharge)
- Scabs or blisters (often caused by ulcers)
- Painful urination (dysuria)
Herpes | Diagnosis
Being diagnosed with herpes is a burden and a responsibility. It is important to notify past sexual partners of your diagnosis and encourage them to get tested as well. This can help limit the spread of infection. It is also your responsibility to inform future sexual partners of your diagnosis so they can decide whether to continue with sexual activities. Practicing safe sex may reduce the risk of infecting future sexual partners but is not an excuse to hide your diagnosis from them.
It is also your responsibility to prevent the spread of the virus during daily activities. This can be done by maintaining good hygiene. Frequently cleaning any objects or areas which may have come into contact with the virus is also advised. It is possible to screen for the herpes simplex virus using a blood test. It is also possible to confirm infection by ordering a viral culture from a lab.
Herpes | Treatment
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for the herpes virus. However, treatment options exist which may greatly reduce its symptoms. Upon testing positive for the herpes virus, you will likely be prescribed antiviral medications which achieve one of three goals:
- Reducing the severity of herpes symptoms
- Minimize the rate of recurrence
- Lower the chances of passing on the virus
Treatments for herpes infections in areas other than the genitals (such as cold sores) include antiviral pills, creams, and balms, many of which are available over the counter.
Herpes | Support
There are plenty of educational resources and support networks available for those infected with the herpes virus. Being open and honest with past and future sexual partners isn’t easy but they will likely be grateful for your honesty in the long run. Talk to your doctor about finding the best resources to help you have that conversation.
A herpes diagnosis doesn’t have to be the end of your sexual life. With the right resources, knowledge, and protection, you can become more comfortable with the skin you’re in and with the outlook of your sexual future. Learn more about resources and treatment options today! Call (703) 327-2434 or contact Dr. Andrew Heyman online.
Virginia Center for Health & Wellness
Address39070 John Mosby Hwy
Aldie, VA 20105
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wed: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm