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Here are 5 things you should know about living with genital herpes

Published on:20 October 2020, 16:49pm IST
Genital herpes is very common but it can be prevented with some simple precautions.
Nikita Bhardwaj
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Living with genital herpes is difficult and that’s why it is important to be aware of it. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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There are many benefits of practising safe sex. Apart from avoiding an unwanted pregnancy, it can also save you from sexually transmitted diseases (STI). Turns out, it isn’t just vaginal sex that can lead to STIs. Indulging in anal and oral sex can result in venereal diseases as well.

Genital herpes is a disease that can lead to sores and ulcers. They occur around your mouth (if caused by oral sex) and/or around your genitals (in case of vaginal or anal sex). In severe cases, one can experience severe pain. What’s more, if you don’t take care of STIs, they can reoccur. Another thing that you should know is that venereal diseases can happen to anyone, irrespective of gender.

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We got in touch with Dr Shilpa Ghosh, director, department of obs & gynaecology at Aakash Healthcare & Super Speciality Hospital to understand more about this infection and how to avoid it.

There are five things that everyone should know about genital herpes, according to the expert: 

1. Two viruses are responsible for causing genital herpes

“Basically, genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by two types of viruses: herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2)”, she explained.

genital herpes
Painful pee is a sign of genital herpes. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

She added, “The initial symptoms include pain in the genitals, itching, and small sores. But, the most painful part is when you urinate and experience a burning sensation down there. There are patients that report the sensation of pins and needles, or report skin rashes.”

2. If you are pregnant, you can pass this infection to your baby

It’s sad but it’s true, ladies. Dr Ghosh revealed that there are high chances of a pregnant woman passing the infection to the child during delivery.

“Unfortunately, HSV-2 infection in the newborn can lead to severe disabilities or even death”, she warned.

3. Using a condom can reduce the risk but it is still not 100% foolproof

“Safe sex might reduce risk but this virus spreads through skin-to-skin contact. Having sex using a condom can still spread herpes. Although the risk is reduced, it isn’t exactly non-existent. I would suggest that if you are aware of your partner’s infection, avoid having sex until s/he has completely recovered”, she recommended.

genital herpes
Sorry but condoms are of no help here. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
4. Home remedies are not the solution for genital herpes

Many of us try homemade jugaads to get rid of the infection or to ease out the pain caused by genital herpes but Dr Ghosh suggested that it can make the situation worse. The best thing is to get yourself checked by a medical professional if you see any sores or rashes around your mouth or genitals.

5. It’s common and treatable

Genital herpes is quite common given that more than 30% of the population in India is seropositive for herpes simplex virus 1. Dr Ghosh also pointed out that 16.6% of individuals are diagnosed with herpes simplex virus 2, and 13.3% are suffering from both types.

She added, “Having HIV can make one more susceptible to HSV-2 and vice versa.”

This disease isn’t too serious in its initial stages and can be taken care of medically. However, if you don’t get yourself treated at the right time, you will end up hurting your health in the long-run. Maintain good hygiene, know the sexual history of your partner and practice safe sex. If you still spot sores around your mouth or genital areas, don’t be shy to visit a doctor and get yourself tested.

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Nikita Bhardwaj Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.