A Practical Guide to Genital Herpes

In the initial stages of manifestation, genital herpes might develop as small painful blisters and shallow erosion (ulcers) on the genitals, around the rectal area, on the buttocks or even the thighs. Other people may show no symptoms at all.

The fist step in determining whether an individual has genital herpes is to go for a laboratory test in an approved health institution. The diagnosis of the virus is either by isolation or  detection of the viral protein. This should however be done by a  qualified medical practitioner.

How exactly does herpes simplex develop?

The first time a person develops noticeable manifestations of genital herpes is called the first episode. The next conditions are  referred to as recurrent infections/ recurrences.

Detailed research concerning this condition has led to classification of the first episode into 3 categories as follows:

  1. The true primary infection: This occurs only in persons who have never had any herpes virus infection before. At that time the individuals become ill with their first episode since they do not have antibodies to the virus. Such individuals tend to have severe symptoms and they have high chances of developing complications.
  2. The non primary infection: This is generally caused by type 2 virus and it occurs in persons who have in the past had a non genital type 1 virus invasion such as cold sores. Samples taken from their genital sores shows type two virus but antibody testing will reveal type one antibodies in the blood. Since there are no type 2 antibodies present the person develops illness that is less severe.
  3. The first symptomatic infection: In this case, the initial genital attack occurred as asymptomatic and it may have occurred long time ago. During the initial attack, the virus moved through the nerve fiber from the genital tract to the nerve cells in the sacral dorsal root ganglia where it established latent infection. In this stage, a person may not know that he/she is infected since the infection is dormant. At times the virus may reactivate and this cause the first outbreak of symptomatic genital herpes.

It is important to clarify the believe and the misconception that
people have about genital herpes that it is contracted from the most
recent person one had sexual encounters with. When a person first
develops genital herpes, it is at times wrong to think that the
attack was transmitted within the past few days by the person had
sexual affairs with. In some instances, an individual may experience
1st. episode genital herpes even after being infected months or even
years ago. This is because the virus at times becomes dormant for
sometime only to reactivate after sometime to cause the disease.

This therefore means that genital herpes could also be transmitted
by a previous partner rather than the most recent one. When
reactivation has occurred and when the first symptomatic infection
occurs, samples taken from the genital sores grow type two virus and
antibody testing shows type 2. Because it takes a couple of weeks
for the body’s immune system to produce antibodies to curb the
virus, the presence of type two antibodies at the time the person
gets ill shows that the person contracted the type 2 virus in the
past. Also, the presence of a variety of preexisting immune
responses to the type two herpes simplex virus makes the health
concern to be caused by reactivation. The resultant infection is
however mild as compared to the earlier two infections discussed

In conclusion, just like any other sexually transmitted health
conditions, genital herpes is a health concern that needs attention.
It needs to be prevented because statistics shows that it is spreading
at an alarming rate especially among the sexually active persons.
Since it is a viral problem, its cure is a problem and thus you can
see to it that sound measures should be put in place to control it.