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Sexual problems - Herpes II

Herpes II

What is Herpes II

Herpes II is a virus that produces painful sores, usually around the genital area. Once a person is infected, they will always have this virus in the body. Symptoms of herpes infections can occur again whenever the person gets sick from other diseases or when they take certain medications or drugs that weaken the body's immune system. It is estimated that as many as 1 out every 5 adults in the UK is infected with herpes II.

Who gets herpes II

Any person who has intimate sexual contact with an infected person can become infected. In addition, Herpes II can be spread from an infected mother to her child during birth.

How is Herpes II spread

The Herpes II virus is spread when having sex with an infected person.

What are the symptoms of Herpes II

The first signs of Herpes II is a cluster of blisters on or around the genital area. These spread and merge, break and crust over for four to fifteen days. The fluid from these itching, painful sores contains more viruses and is very infectious. Other symptoms include pain when urinating, urethral or vagina discharge, and swollen lymph nodes. The first time you get sick you may get a headache, fever, chills and muscular weakness. After that, symptoms are likely to be less painful and only show up on the part of the body where you were first infected.

How soon do symptoms appear

One half to two-thirds of people infected with the virus will have no symptoms. If they appear, the first symptoms may be seen from 2 to 12 days after exposure.

When and for how long is a person able to spread herpes II

people are most likely to transmit the virus when sores can be seen. There is evidence, however, that a person with the virus may infect another person even when they have no symptoms.

Does past infection with herpes II make a person immune

No. After the initial infection, the Herpes II virus lives inside your body, even though you may not have any symptoms. Symptoms may occur again, but how often varies from person to person.

What is the treatment for herpes II

A drug called Acyclovir, given by mouth, injected into the vein, or in an ointment, reduces the pain and speeds the healing of primary herpes lesions. In the pill form, this treatment may shorten the amount of time that the person is sick, both the first time and in repeat outbreaks.

How does the herpes virus relate to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS

Herpes sores break the skin, which is the first defense against other infections. Thus, herpes makes it easier to become infected with other sexually transmitted germs like HIV. HIV weakens the person's ability to fight other infections. Thus, a person with HIV who gets herpes may have more severe herpes symptoms that are more difficult to treat.

What can a person or a community do to prevent the spread of herpes II

Avoiding sexual contact with people who have symptoms is an immediate, but only partial answer because herpes virus may be shed when the infected individual is without symptoms. Cesarean section is often recommended when primary or recurrent herpes II lesions occur in late pregnancy, since the baby can be infected when going through the mother's birth canal.

  • Abstinence is the only sure way to avoid STDs.
  • The kinds of sex that do not include vaginal, anal or oral intercourse are also "safer sex" and less likely to spread STDs.
  • Try to limit your exposure to STDs. Unprotected sexual activity increases your chance of exposure and infection. If you have more than one partner or your partner has other sexual partners this increases your chances of getting an STD.
  • Use barrier protection, like a condom.
  • Look at your partner before having sex. If you see any sign of an infection such as rashes, sores, discharge or swelling, stop and talk about the importance of checking for an STD before having sex.
  • If you think you are infected, avoid any sexual contact and visit a local sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic, hospital or your own doctor. If possible, bring your sex partner(s) with you so that they can be treated if necessary.
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