Genital herpies (herpes) FAQ

Genital herpies FAQ

Genital herpies FAQ


What do symptoms of genital herpies look like?

Symptoms of the infection will typically be a general discomfort feeling in the genital area, then often (shortly after feeling discomfort), small dimples may appear on the genital skin and these will eventually develop into blisters. Blisters then break and finally they scab over. The time frame of this - from the first noticing of discomfort to the full blown blister scabbing over again, is 10-14 days. With the right herpees treatment, this time can be shortened.

How is genetal herpes diagnosed?

Your doctor can use one of the two standard reliable tests available, these are either blood testing or swab testing. The swab method has its best reliability when used on an active herpes infection while blood testing is generally considered to be more accurate in all phases of infection. A general recommendation is to use the blood test no sooner than 3-4 months after an active infection is suspected.

How do I home test for genital herpes?

There are no reliable home tests for genitile herpees. Diagnosing and treating the infection should be left to a doctor.

Can I get gential herpes from a toilet seat etc?

Most herpes virii like HSV 1, 2, has a very short lifespan when outside of the host (the body). It is theoretically possible to catch GH from a toilet seat - but it is extremely unlikely. It cannot be ruled out, but then again, getting hit by a meteorite can't either. In practical life though, you can only get the infection from sexual contact with someone infected.

How long is it between the infection and the first genitle herpes symptoms?

There is no conclusive answer to this, in fact some people can get infected and never have any symptoms at all. On the other extreme, the first symptoms can show up in a few days only. Most people with herpes are not aware of the condition, because symptoms are either missing or show up very briefly and mildly. You simply cannot rely on infection symptoms as an indication to whether you have it or not - the only reliable diagnosis is a proper medical test performed by your doctor, either a swab test or a blood test.

Is it safe to have oral sex with someone infected?

There are no guarentees. Infection risk is greatest when your partner has an outbreak but even between outbreaks, there is a certain risk of inection. You can also get infected even if your partner has no symptoms at all. However, if you have a normal health, a viral infection is not a major disaster, it is a skin condition that can be managed or lived with, just as many other minor skin conditions.

Is there a risk I will spread genitile herpies between different body parts?

Again, it is possible, but very improbable. If you have an infection, your immune system will also have developed antibodies. These will put up a resistance to the transmission. If you use normal hygiene, there should be no problems in all but the most extreme cases. There is no need to resort to extreme hygiene, just behave normally and keep a good normal hygiene, that will do.

How frequent is genital herpies?

Most people in their teens or above will have Herpes Simplex 1, which is oral herpes, often called "cold sores" and symptoms (blisters etc) occur in or around the mouth. Herpes Simplex 2, which is genital herpes, is not as frequent. About 20% of all Americans over 12 have this infection so it is certainly not uncommon.

Can I get "cold sores", i.e Herpes Simplex 1 in the genital area?

You can, yes. It is not that common, but it is getting more frequent. Most genital infections is of the HSV-2 type. Getting HSV-1 on the genitals is obviously more likely if you have oral sex and your partner has cold sores. Once in the genitals though, HSV-1 can spread like any herpes virus and during normal intercourse.

What is the difference between genital HSV1 and HSV2?

HSV-1 is generally believed to have a lower risk of recurrance than HSV-1, or in plain English - if you have genital HSV-1, you probably have fewer outbreaks than if it is a HSV-2 infection. In general terms, HSV-1 is an "above waistline" infection that doesn't thrive well below the waistline - and HSV-2 is the other way around.

Are condoms effective against genetal herpes?

If it is the male partner who has an infection on his penis, yes. In that case a condom is very effective. If on the other hand, the woman is infected, the condom will only provide a certain level of protection as it is possible to get an infection elsewhere as well.

What about herpees and eyes?

The herpes virus can infect eyes and this condition is called ocular herpes. This almost always refers to the HSV-1 type of virus as HSV-2 is very unlikely to infect the eye. So to avoid getting ocular herpes, avoid all transfers from mouth (yours, or anyone elses) to eye.

How dangerous is genital herpees?

Genetal herpes is not a great danger, it is a skin condition amongst others and you can very likely live with it without any major problems. Ocular herpes, if untreated, can in the worst case lead to blindness.

Can you get herpes by kissing?

Oral herpes - yes! Kissing is how it spreads! If you engage in oral sex, you can also catch an infection.

Is there any cure for herpes?

At present time, there is no cure for any of the HSV-1 or HSV-2. There is a lot of research going into finding treatment and cure, possibly a vaccine for HSV-2 though. There is no cure for HSV 1 or HSV 2 at this time, though there is a lot of work being done on finding a vaccine and a cure for HSV 2.

What about gential herpiees and pregnancy?

If you have gential herpes, it is very important that you inform your doctor about the condition so infection of the baby during delivery can be avoided. To a newborn, a genitle herpes infection is a very serious condition that must be avoided if it is possible. This can be done, sometimes using a c-section, as long as the doctor has been told about it.

How does genital herpes transmit?

Genitile herpes is easily spread to a partner during unprotected sex. Most people who get herpees will get it during sex with someone who has an outbreak, or who is shedding the herpes virus - with or without symptoms. Since so many infections can be asymptomatic, even during an outbreak or shedding, this is an important source of transmission. The infection can also be transmitted during other close contact, via oral sex etc. The herpes virus has a very short life span outside the body so indirect infections via objects such as toilet seats or tubs would be rare to improbable.

How do I avoid spreading genital herpies?

Don't touch the infected area when there is an outbreak. If you have to touch it, wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. Avoid any kind of sex (oral, anal or vaginal) during the period from the genital herpies symptoms showing up until all symptoms are gone, typically 1-2 weeks.


Genital herpies (gential herpes) is a condition brougt on by an infection from the herpes simplex virus. It is a highly contagious condition while there is an active outbreak, which it fortunately is not most of the time between outbreaks of the genatal herpees. Treatment of genetal herpes symptoms signs can be done, although there is no known cure that will remove the underlying virus infection so even if the herpes infection is treated, it is likely to recur at a later stage.

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