Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the herpes simplex viruses – or HSV type 1 and type 2. Herpes is transmitted through sexual contact with someone who has the virus. There may be no symptoms of herpes (although the infected person can still spread the virus!) or symptoms may range from mild sores or blisters in the mouth and genital areas, to swollen glands, pain in the legs, buttocks, and genital areas, burning sensation, itchiness, fever, and more.
Can Herpes Be Cured?
Unfortunately, herpes can be treated but it cannot be cured. Even when herpes symptoms occur and eventually heal or are treated, another herpes outbreak can occur weeks or even months later because the virus remains in the body even once external signs of the infection have disappeared. Another way of describing this incurable cycle is that the herpes virus becomes ‘active’ during an outbreak, and is ‘latent’ at other times. While there is no way to tell how many herpes outbreaks an infected individual will experience each year, the number of outbreaks tends to decrease over time.
Herpes Prevention vs. Herpes Cures
While there are no herpes cures, there are many steps one can take in order to prevent contracting herpes, spreading herpes, and to speed up the healing process.
•1) The surest way to prevent any STD is to abstain from sexual activity. If you are sexually active, you can best prevent herpes by having a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship and by making sure that your partner is tested for herpes.
•2) Practice safe sex by always using a condom. This will reduce the risk of contracting oral and genital herpes.
•3) Maintain good hygienic practices such as washing your hands regularly and after sexual contact.
Herpes Treatments vs. Herpes Cures
Although current cures for herpes do not exist, there are treatments available for herpes.
Depending on one’s specific symptoms, a doctor can prescribe drugs to shorten outbreaks of herpes when they occur, or medications to take on a regular basis to help prevent herpes from reoccurring.
There are also measures one can take during a herpes episode to prevent spreading the infection and to speed up the healing process. Some of these steps include:
•1) Refraining from sex and sexual contact while symptoms are apparent
•2) Notifying your sexual partners so they can be tested.
•3) Washing hands on a regular basis, especially after touching a herpes sore
•4) Refraining from touching herpes sores or blisters
•5) Taking care of the infected area by keeping it clean and dry