Herpes is a common highly contagious disease caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus. In Thailand alone, there is an estimate of 70% infection among sex workers. Limited education upon the transmission of herpes is the main reason of widespread infection. Most people who are infected are either undiagnosed, failed to recognize the symptoms or does not display any signs of infection at all. Genital herpes can cause blisters and lesions on and around the genitals of both men and women.
The Herpes Simplex Virus has two types. HSV 1 is the usual cause of blisters and lesions around the lips, mouth and face, which can be transmitted through as simple as kissing and through oral-genital contact. HSV 2 on the other hand is responsible for genital herpes infections. HSV is occurs more frequently between the two. In some cases, any type of skin-to-skin contact is capable of spreading herpes.
The virus enters the skin and settles permanently near the spinal cord. It can stay dormant, showing no signs and symptoms, even for years. The infection is permanent, the treatments for this disease are all symptomatic, meaning the blisters and lesions are being treated but not the infection itself.
Signs and Symptoms
After transmission, the infection starts as typical redness, then the blisters occur. The outbreak may take place weeks or years apart. The lesions appear as open sores on the affected area, mostly concentrated in the corners of the mouth or around the genitals, depending upon the type.
Some are unaware that they are already carriers of the virus because the infection can pass an inactive state. After transmission, the appearance of signs and symptoms can be as early as two weeks and late as a few years. There is also a possibility that a person will have no symptoms. It is also noted that the symptoms can recur after the first time of outbreak, meaning after medications, the blisters can back, turn into lesions, then heal in a time period of one to three weeks, and usually in one to two weeks. Some mild infections can also go unnoticed.
HSV-1 can be readily diagnosed through clinical examination, provided that a person has no previous history of lesions and had been in contact with another person known to have HSV-1 infection. HSV-2 on the other hand is more difficult to diagnose since it has no classical symptoms and it can easily be mistaken as other conditions that resemble the same symptoms. To confirm the diagnosis, laboratory testing is often used. It includes blood tests, culture of the virus, direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) studies to detect virus, skin biopsy, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to test for presence of viral DNA.
These treatments are prescribed not to eradicate the virus, since the infection is permanent. Herpes is relatively harmless, although the lesions can be irritating and uncomfortable, sometimes even painful. However, prescribed medications are available to treat outbreaks and minimize symptoms.
Acyclovir (Acivir, Vilerm) 400mg given orally twice a day for 5-7 days
Valacyclovir (Valtrex) 500 mg orally twice a day for 5-10 days
Famciclovir (Famvir) 250 mg three times a day for 5 days
Acyclovir cream (Acivir, Vilerm) Apply 5 times a day at 4 hourly intervals during waking hour for 5-10 days.
Dietary supplements and alternative medicine are also considered and claimed to be beneficial. These are very popular in Thailand, which includes taking antioxidant therapy and other herbal medicines. There are no sufficient evidence however of any direct effect on the treatment of the infection. These are particularly used to boost the immune system, so that there will be a decreased chance of recurrence.
For more information and Cure we recommend these books
Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Thailand
The Complete Guide to Natural Remedies for STD STI
Available for free download on Kindle Prime
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