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Herpes - Rightangled

What is Herpes?

El herpes genital es una infección por el virus del herpes simple (HSV) 1 o HSV-2. El herpes simple genital es una de las infecciones de transmisión sexual (ITS) más comunes, con hasta el 23 % de los adultos en el Reino Unido. El HSV se adquiere en las superficies mucosas o en las heridas de la piel por contacto directo con secreciones infectadas. La mayoría de las infecciones por HSV son transmitidas por personas que no saben que están infectadas. Actualmente no existe una cura para el HSV, sin embargo, en ángulo recto podemos controlar el virus con los medicamentos disponibles.

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Causes

Herpes is primarily caused by two types of the herpes simplex virus: HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 is often associated with oral herpes, causing cold sores or fever blisters around the mouth. HSV-2 is typically linked to genital herpes, resulting in sores on or around the genital and anal areas. The virus is spread through direct skin-to-skin contact, including sexual contact, kissing, and touching areas with active outbreaks. It can also be transmitted from a mother to her baby during childbirth.

Diagnosis

Diagnosing herpes involves a combination of clinical examination, medical history assessment, and laboratory tests. Healthcare professionals can often identify herpes sores based on their appearance and location. To confirm the diagnosis and determine the specific type of herpes virus, laboratory tests such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and viral cultures may be conducted on samples taken from the affected area.

Treatments

While there is no cure for herpes, antiviral medications can help manage symptoms and reduce the frequency of outbreaks:

- Antiviral Creams and Ointments: Over-the-counter or prescription topical creams containing antiviral agents can help alleviate pain and discomfort during outbreaks.

- Antiviral Pills: Prescription antiviral medications, such as acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir, can help reduce the severity and duration of outbreaks and may be prescribed for both initial and recurrent episodes.

- Suppressive Therapy: For individuals with frequent or severe outbreaks, doctors may recommend long-term antiviral therapy to suppress symptoms and reduce the risk of transmission to partners.

- Pain Relief Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers can help manage discomfort and pain associated with herpes outbreaks.

- Good Hygiene: Keeping the affected area clean and dry can aid in preventing bacterial infections and promote healing.

Prevention

Preventing herpes transmission and reducing the risk of outbreaks involves several strategies:

- Safe Sexual Practices: Using condoms consistently and correctly during sexual activity can reduce the risk of transmitting herpes to partners. However, condoms do not provide complete protection, as the virus can be spread through skin-to-skin contact in areas not covered by condoms.

- Avoiding Contact During Outbreaks: Refraining from sexual activity and avoiding direct contact with the affected area during outbreaks can help prevent transmitting the virus to others.

- Oral Herpes Precautions: Avoid kissing or sharing utensils, towels, or other personal items during oral herpes outbreaks to prevent the spreading of the virus.

- Herpes and Pregnancy: Pregnant women with herpes should discuss the condition with their healthcare provider, as certain precautions may be necessary to prevent transmission to the baby during childbirth.

- Early Detection and Treatment: Recognizing the symptoms of an impending outbreak and seeking prompt medical attention can help reduce the severity and duration of symptoms.

In conclusion, herpes is a common viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. While there is no cure, various treatments are available to manage symptoms and reduce the frequency of outbreaks. Safe sexual practices, avoiding direct contact during outbreaks, and good hygiene are essential for preventing transmission. Early diagnosis and timely treatment can help individuals effectively manage herpes and improve their overall quality of life. If you suspect you have herpes or are experiencing symptoms, consult a healthcare professional for accurate diagnosis and appropriate management.

Further info

Read more about Hay Fever on NHS website, following the link below:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/genital-herpes/

https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/sexual-health/find-a-sexual-health-clinic

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FAQs

¿Qué es el herpes genital?

El herpes genital se describe como llagas que ocurren alrededor del pene o en el área de la vagina. También puede causar llagas en la región del ano. La causa más común del herpes genital es el HSV2 (virus del herpes simple tipo 2). Los virus del herpes se pueden propagar por sexo oral o genital sin protección y, a veces, por besos. Es por eso que se recomienda encarecidamente usar siempre un condón para reducir el riesgo de contraer el virus. Su médico o clínica de ITS puede tomar una muestra para determinar qué virus del herpes simple está causando sus brotes. Es importante tener en cuenta que no todas las llagas que aparecen en el área genital son causadas por herpes. Por eso es importante ver a su médico de cabecera o visitar la clínica de ITS para obtener un diagnóstico y hacerse la prueba de cualquier otra ITS. No debe autotratarse sin obtener primero un diagnóstico médico.

¿Qué es el herpes genital recurrente?

Es común que las personas con herpes genital experimenten episodios recurrentes, esto ocurre cuando el virus viaja a través de la superficie de la piel provocando un brote de úlceras. Los episodios recurrentes son más leves en severidad en comparación con el brote inicial. Las úlceras pueden reaparecer en la misma área que el primer brote o pueden aparecer en otras áreas. También es posible desarrollar lesiones alrededor del área anal sin haber tenido sexo anal. El aciclovir se puede prescribir en otras concentraciones y dosis para controlar los episodios recurrentes de herpes genital. Es importante reservar una cita con su médico de cabecera si el tratamiento no es efectivo, si experimenta efectos secundarios o si desarrolla algún síntoma nuevo.

¿Puedo tener relaciones sexuales mientras estoy en tratamiento con Aciclovir?

Lo mejor es abstenerse del contacto sexual durante un brote de herpes y mientras toma el tratamiento. Durante un brote, una persona con herpes genital es contagiosa y puede transmitir el virus a sus parejas sexuales. No tenga relaciones sexuales hasta que todas sus llagas y ampollas hayan sanado y recuerde siempre usar un condón.

¿El tratamiento con Aciclovir cura el herpes genital?

En la actualidad, no existe una cura para el herpes genital. El tratamiento con Aciclovir ayuda a controlar los síntomas y acortar un brote en 1 o 2 días, si el tratamiento se inicia tan pronto como aparecen los síntomas. De vez en cuando, los brotes pueden resolverse por sí solos sin tratamiento. La frecuencia de los brotes tiende a ocurrir con menos frecuencia con el tiempo. Las personas que experimentan más de 6 brotes en un año pueden beneficiarse del tratamiento antiviral por una duración de 6 a 12 meses. Si el tratamiento antiviral no está ayudando y aún tiene brotes, su médico de cabecera puede derivarlo a un especialista.

Medically reviewed & approved

This page was medically reviewed by Dr Sohaib Imtiaz (clinical lead) |

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