I have the pleasure of working in the field of health-care in New England’s second largest city and have seen more than my fair share of disturbing diseases, mental defect and STDs. However, one thing that I’ve noticed that has been fairly shocking to me is the amount of cases of Genital Herpes springing up, and the lack of information given and available to patients. It seems like Genital Herpes is on the rise in this area, however, the rate of infection nationwide has been staying a very steady 16% (or about 1 in every 6 Americans between the ages of 14 and 49). With these staggering numbers it seems only logical to educate the whole population whether they are carrying the disease or not.
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the herpes simplex virus, and there are two defined types. Herpes simplex type 1, which can cause genital herpes but is more often seen around the mouth or lips (and thus can be spread easily through oral sex), and herpes simplex type 2, which can only be spread through sex, specifically with someone else who is infected with herpes simplex type 2 . Most individuals who are carrying herpes of either type may have little to no symptoms and may not even know for years until the first warning signs show. However, herpes simplex type 2 is the most worrisome. Genital herpes can be spread by an infected partner even if they have no visible sores, and thus he or she may not even know they are infected.
Unfortunately there is no cure for herpes. Certain medications may be taken to shorten or prevent embarrassing outbreaks; however, as with most STDs, preventing the spread of the disease is the best option, and the best way to prevent the spread is to abstain from sexual contact or make sure that you and your partners are tested and trustworthy. Additional information about herpes can be found at the CDC’s website http://www.cdc.gov/std
Do you have a question, health related or not – drop me a line!
*note: Recent studies and statistics show that STDs are responsible for 22,000 deaths annually.