Safe Sex Information: Herpes
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Abstinance is the the best safe sex practice, but monogamy
is a strong second. In these days of increasing cases of
sexually transmitted diseases worldwide, it is always best to stay
faithful, monogamous and to use the right protection when engaging
in sex. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates more than 300
million cases of STDs around the globe today and the number does not
show signs of going down. These infectious diseases do not choose
their victims because adults and even teenagers who are sexually active
can get them.
In the U.S., 13.5 million new cases of STDs are reported every year
and around three million of these affect the teenagers. Of
the most common STDs, genital herpes accounts for 200,000 to 500,000 cases.
Studies have shown that the biggest increase in the number of herpes cases involve
Types of herpes
actually refers to a double-stranded DNA virus known as herpes simplex
virus (HSV). There are a total of eight viruses in the herpes
family and these two are among them.
There are two types of herpes and each has different symptoms. The first type (HSV-1)
is known as the oral herpes or commonly called cold sores. This type shows as fever
blisters around the mouth, lips or nose. This type does not need sexual intercourse to be
transmitted as it can spread by using the eating utensils, towels and razors of an infected
The second type (HSV-2) is the one that can be passed through sexual contact and
affects the genitals. Sexual contact here refers to actual penetration, oral-genital
contact and torrid petting. The genital areas that can be affected are the vagina,
penis, scrotum, thighs, buttocks and anus.
The most common symptoms of genital herpes are pain, sores,
itching, red bumps, laceration or cuts in the vagina, penis, testicles,
buttocks, anus and scrotum. The sores normally develop in
the genital areas initially as red bumps that eventually turn to blisters
often reddish in color and are watery. These then open up, drip or
bleed, scab and clear up. Although they may disappear for some time,
they actually remain the body and recur from time to time. An infected
person experiences pain during urination due to the sores.
These same sores are the ones that get transmitted to another person
and they are the reason as well for an infected person’s increased
likelihood of contracting HIV. As for
women, their babies may get infected as well during delivery.
If infected, a baby can develop seizures and other disabilities including
damage to the brain.
Prevention and treatment
Herpes is an incurable disease but there are antiviral oral
and topical medications prescribed by doctors to control its outbreaks.
In the U.S., the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is still conducting
trials of a vaccine called Herpevac for herpes type 2. So far, the
vaccine’s effectiveness has been proven in women unexposed to
the type 1 virus and is said to be 78 percent effective in averting
the symptoms of HSV-2.
The importance of prevention has always been so crucial when it comes
to sexually transmitted diseases. The condom proves to be a valuable
protection and many studies have confirmed this.
remain one of the most effective ways of barring the spread of infectious
diseases that may not only cause permanent harm to a person’s
health but could even lead to death.