Sexual reproductive health has become an open topic much of these days in Uganda with several organisations and people singing the song of safe sex and what not which is great but, little has been said about Herpes.
You definitely read that right. Yes, Herpes. This less talked about STD is silently spreading like a wild hot fire among campus students with very few unable to tell the symptoms.
For those that don’t know what Herpes is, it’s a viral disease caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) whose infections are categorized based on the part of the body infected. It categorised in two types; HSV-1 (herpes type 1, or oral herpes) and HSV-2 (herpes type 2, or genital herpes).
The virus affects the private parts, anal region, and skin in other parts of the body. Herpes is a long-term condition and many people never have symptoms even though they are carrying the virus.
Just take a moment and think about that cute guy or babe you’ve been dreaming about all day long. You’re so anxious to ask them out on a date and you’re hoping for a crazy night out that could lead both you into a warm bed of cuddles. But, something seems off.
The symptoms of Herpes
Your dream date or friend has been complaining a lot about weird blisters that suddenly appear and go around their mouth. They’re experiencing a high fever, ulcers, pain when urinating, cold sores, and vaginal discharge.
So, there you’re wondering about what’s really wrong with them. You can’t wrap your mind around it. Probably it’s just one of those bad skin infections or a simple easy to treat UTI (urinal tract infection) but guess what, your assumptions could be very wrong.
Most people do not experience symptoms for months or years after becoming infected while for some it happens within 4-12 days after exposure to the virus.
Other disorders caused by herpes simplex include: herpetic whitlow around the fingers, herpes of the eye, herpes infection of the brain, and neonatal herpes when it affects a newborn, among others.
What causes a Herpes Infection?
Herpes simplex virus can easily be passed on to someone else through the moist skin that lines the mouth, anus, private parts and the eyes too.
However, one cannot become infected with HSV by touching an object, work surface, washbasin, or towel that has been touched by an infected person. Infection can occur in the following ways:
- having unprotected sex
- having oral sex with a person who gets cold sores
- sharing sex toys
- having contact with an infected person’s private parts
The virus can still be transmitted to another person when there are no signs of an outbreak, although it is less likely. Also, HSV can be released from areas of the skin that do not have a visible herpes sore. For these reasons, condoms may not fully protect you from getting herpes.
How do you protect yourself against Herpes?
To reduce the risk of getting infected or passing on the virus, one has to use condoms, avoid kissing especially when the person has cold sores around the mouth and not having many sexual partners.
The best remedy is abstaining and also making sure you and your sexual partner have tested for STD’s and are aware of each other’s status.
Although there is no cure for herpes, it can be treated using prescribed medication which prevents the virus from multiplying. Antiviral medications will help the outbreak clear up faster and will also help reduce the severity of symptoms.
So, next time before you go dilly darling keep in mind that you need to protect yourself or risk contracting something way worse than just a fungal infection.
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