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Genital herpes is contracted by direct genital contact with the virus from an infected partner. The most dangerous thing about this condition is that up to 60% of people with a genital HSV (herpes simplex virus) infection show no signs (so they may not even know they have it), but are still able to pass it on to their partner.
The initial episode of genital herpes tends to be the worst, with symptoms sometimes lasting up to twenty days. It usually starts with tingling, burning, itching, and genital pain, and progresses to fever, body aches and pains, and swollen lymph nodes. Next come painful red spots that eventually turn to fluid-filled blisters. When the blisters burst, they become crusty ulcers that finally heal in around ten days.
In women, symptoms of herpes tend to appear on the vulva, vaginal entrance, and sometimes on the cervix. There is also associated pain during urination. For men, the site of the outbreak is usually the end of the penis, the foreskin, the shaft of the penis, and the testicles.
Pain relief for genital herpes can be achieved with salt baths, pain relievers (analgesics, ice, or anaesthetic cream), wearing loose undergarments, and antiviral drug therapy such as valaciclovir and famciclovir. The most important way to manage outbreaks is to be aware of the warning symptoms (the burning, tingling and itching), avoid contact with your partner, and stick with antiviral treatment. If you need help, use the free clinician finder on MyBlankHurts.com to find a clinician in your area.