Herpes is one of the most common and highly contagious sexually transmitted diseases. It is caused by two different viruses – herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). They are easy to catch and remain in the body for life and can produce symptoms that come and go.
Symptoms include pain and itchy sores in your genital area. But not all people with herpes have symptoms. The virus can lay dormant in your body – sometimes for several months until it decides to strike again, causing those annoying and, well, embarrassing symptoms.
Those symptoms often show up in your groin area a few weeks after having sex with someone infected with herpes. Some of the itchy or painful spots will turn into blisters and may even bleed.
Sores can also develop inside both men and women’s body’s – in men, they can appear inside the urethra – the tube leading from the tip of the penis to the bladder, making it painful to pee. In women, the sores can develop inside the vagina as deep as the cervix, which is the knuckle-sized bump that is the entrance to the uterus.
In addition to the groin area, herpes symptoms can show up throughout the body. In some cases, an initial outbreak of Herpes can make you feel like you have the flu. Herpes can cause muscle aches, headaches and a fever.
Though there is no cure for herpes, there are medications available to manage your symptoms and reduce the odds that you’ll pass it to another partner. If you suspect you have herpes, the best thing to do is see your doctor. He or she will order a lab test to confirm whether or not you are infected with the virus.
Like any other STD, it is best not to get herpes in the first place. Talk openly with your partner before having sex, and always use a condom.