Do I Have Herpes?

By: roxbrian
The more you understand about any subject, the more interesting it becomes. As you read this article you'll find that the subject of Herpes is certainly no exception.

Oral herpes, an infection caused by the herpes simplex virus, is estimated to be present in 50 to 80 percent of the American adult population. 20 Percent, or over 50 million people, are infected with genital herpes, also caused by the herpes simplex virus. The majority of these cases may be unaware that they even have it. Studies show that more than 500,000 Americans are diagnosed with genital herpes each year, and the largest increase is occurring in young teens.

The most obvious sign of genital herpes is the appearance of red bumps in and/or around the genital area, often starting around two weeks after the initial exposure to herpes. The bumps may spread to the anus and/or surrounding skin, and in some cases also develop within the vagina and/or urinary tract. These bumps turn into blisters, which in turn become sores. Often these sores become encrusted and very itchy; after a period of time, however, they will clear up. An outbreak can involve a large number of sores, but can just as easily involve just a single one.

Other symptoms of genital herpes may or may not accompany an outbreak. These include a reddening and/or sudden extreme dryness of the genital area; a burning, itching, and/or painful sensation in the genital area; vaginal discharge; difficulty urinating; headache; fever; and/or swollen glands.

Once you begin to move beyond basic background information, you begin to realize that there's more to Herpes than you may have first thought.

The most difficult aspect of genital herpes, and a large contributor to its spread, is that the herpes virus can remain inactive in many individuals and never cause them to show any signs or symptoms of the condition. However, they are still able to spread genital herpes to others.

While it's important to know and be able to recognize the symptoms of genital herpes, you should always seek an official diagnosis from a medical professional if you are at all concerned that you may have contracted the disease. Only they will be able to say for certain whether your symptoms are the result of herpes. If you do have genital herpes, they can provide you with medication and important information necessary to handle the condition.

If you are currently experiencing an outbreak of genital herpes, a doctor can diagnose your condition visually. A blood test or a viral culture can also check for the herpes simplex virus, although results can be vague and/or inaccurate in many cases. Two different strains of the herpes simplex virus lead to genital herpes: HSV-1 and HSV-2. The former, HSV-1, can indicate any form of herpes, including mouth sores, and does not necessarily translate into a genital herpes diagnosis. However, HSV-2 is almost always linked to genital herpes, and is a more reliable sign of the disease.

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and you should seek the advice of a professional regarding your particular situation.

Now you can be a confident expert on Herpes. OK, maybe not an expert. But you should have something to bring to the table next time you join a discussion on Herpes.
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