Sexually transmitted diseases are a serious issue. With so many different types and symptoms, some of the complications can be serious. Because of this, it is important for people to use protection. Furthermore, people need to know that most forms of contraception do not offer additional protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Condoms are one of the few forms of contraception that can actually make it less likely to contract a sexually transmitted infection from their partner. Unfortunately, these barrier forms of contraception are not perfect and people can still get a sexually transmitted infection, such as herpes. If someone has been diagnosed with herpes, what are some of the important points to keep in mind?
Identifying Herpes: What are the Symptoms?
When a partner has been diagnosed with herpes, many people wonder if they have contracted this from their partner already. First, there are many different types of herpes, such as herpes simplex virus 1 and 2. Herpes simplex virus 1 causes the cold sores that many people are familiar with. This type of oral herpes can erupt from time to time and typically resolves on its own. Herpes simplex virus 2 causes genital warts that many people fear. While the genital warts are often easy to diagnose, there are a few symptoms of genital herpes that can precede these warts that people should know about. These include:
Pain: Genital herpes is often painful at the site of the infection. People may feel a burning, stinging, or pressure in that area of the body.
Itching: After a while, people may start to notice that they are itching. This can be embarrassing and many people rely on anti-itch medications and creams to try and remove this symptom.
Ulcers: After the first few symptoms appear, ulcers and scabs may start to form. This is often when people start to seek medical help, looking for a herpes cure.
What are the Treatment Options?
When someone is having symptoms of herpes, they should seek medical care. There are a few tests that doctors are able to run that can confirm the presence of either HSV-1 or HSV-2. These tests look for the presence of the viral genetic code at the site of the infection. If these tests come back positive, herpes treatment can begin. There are a few different treatment options that people could be prescribed. These include acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir (Valtrex). For people with genital herpes, Valtrex is typically prescribed. It comes in pill form and works by inhibiting the enzyme that viruses rely on to replicate their genetic code. There are a few side effects of Valtrex that people should keep in mind, particularly if they or their partner are taking this medication. These include:
- A headache
- Stomach Pain
- Joint Pains
In rare cases, Valtrex can actually cause someone to develop liver failure. Because of this, it is important for people to stay in regular contact with their doctor so that the medication can be changed if any of these side effects start to pop up.
Planning for the Future
If someone has been diagnosed with herpes, it is important for them to communicate this to their partners so that they can be tested as well. It can be difficult to completely eradicate the herpes virus and people may experience flares from time to time, similar to cold sores. Many herpes flares are triggered by stress. There are also medications that people can take to reduce the frequency of herpes flares. For more information, people should speak with their local doctor.