Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted viral disease. The disease is caused by a virus from the herpes simplex virus group type 1 and 2. The incubation period for genital herpes is 2 to 14 days from contact with an infected person.
Once a person is infected by direct contact with another diseased person, it is no longer possible to cure the genital herpes. The virus stays permanently in the neural tissue of the body region where it first manifested itself, and this can be the genitals, groins, seating and perianal area.
Symptoms of genital herpes
Genital herpes infection manifestation is characterised by a sense of burning, tingling and unpleasantness, and after 24 to 48 hours, tiny bubbles, wounds and redness appear. Sometimes there are none of the mentioned symptoms before the bubbles appear. When genital herpes is manifested in women inside the vaginal mucous the only symptoms can be a sense of tingling and a strong vaginal secretion without knowing the bacterial cause behind it. Problems last for about 7-14 days, after which the mucous regenerates completely.
How often will genital herpes appear in the patient is completely individual and depends on the immune system of the infected person. In the period when wounds and bubbles are not present the patient will have no health problems. The first contact with the virus can look like a flu and very violent reactions can occur on the skin which spread over large surfaces. Later infections have significantly milder reactions.
How is genital herpes transmitted?
Stress, cold or a more severe illness, and also mechanical damage to the skin can be the triggering factors for genital herpes. When one of the these conditions is present the dormant virus is activated in the nervous fiber, it begins to replicate and travel down the nervous fiber to the skin surface where it causes the creation of tiny watery bubbles. These bubbles are filled with virus particles, and this is the period when patients are at the peak of infectiousness and shouldn’t have sexual relations or any other direct contacts with a non infected partner. Preservatives can not stop the spread of the infection and according to statistics almost every fifth person is a genital herpes virus carrier. One percent of the infected never have manifestations of the sickness but can spread this very infective sexually transmitted disease.
Women are very often unaware that they have genital herpes because the disease is manifested inside the vagina with an increased secretion and mild sense of unpleasantness. A mother can carry over the disease to the child during the pregnancy and if the infection occurs in the last month of the pregnancy a caesarean section is mandatory to protect the child from the infection.
Treatment for genital herpes
Treatment for genital herpes is simple and the therapy consists of antiviral medication and antiseptic creams which shorten the recovery period after the infection.
Genital herpes diagnostics consist of cultivating the virus with a direct preparation or from finding immunoglobulins directed to HSV1 or HSV2. Sometimes the tests are false negative and the only diagnostics is the clinical picture.
Spec. Dr. Svetlana Djurisic, dermatologist
Dermatological clinic DERMATIM, Belgrade – Serbia