May 112010

Herpes is a viral disease that affects your body (normally face and mouth) and the genitals. Actually there are two types of viruses HSV-1 and HSV-2 that cause this disease. HSV-1 is known to cause oral herpes and HSV-2 mostly causes genital herpes. Herpes is considered to be a serious sexually transmitted disease that has spread its web all over the world. Painful lesions are a common characteristic of this disease and its effects can be extremely serious and even fatal if proper medical advice is not sought well in time.

It’s not certain that if you are infected with HSV-1, you will suffer from oral herpes only, you can even suffer from genital herpes. The same is the case with HSV-2 virus. This disease is known to occur again and again in a person and in this sense it can be called incurable. In the very start of this disease, small blisters start appearing on the skin in bunches. Gradually, they get filled with a watery substance and become highly itchy and painful. By and by the severity/pain of this disease subsides and the blisters also burst and heal on their own.

In case of genital herpes, the sexual organs become deeply affected with sores, so and so that people also experience pain while urinating. In addition to this, one tends to be caught with fever, body aches, loss of appetite and swelling of the groin area. Tremendous swelling is uncommon but it certainly raises its head in a few unlucky individuals. After about a fortnight, the ‘latency time’ of the virus starts and it goes to sleep inside the body. It can get activated again for reasons best known to it. The possible causes that have been studied include menstruation, immune deficiency, stress, weakness and physical/mental shock. Its favorite abode is the nerves that lie near the spinal chord.

The Herpes virus can enter the body through a number of ways. Sexual intercourse with an infected person is one of the most common causes. It can also enter through cuts/wounds in the skin and through mucous membranes of the body. A child born to an infected mother has great chances of being affected by this disease. It’s all the more hazardous because sometimes physical signs of the disease are minimal/absent in a person, but he may be carrying a very strong infection.  Infection can even be transmitted to other people when herpes has entered the last stage.

At present there is no vaccine against this disease. Actually, viruses are so difficult to study and handle that vaccines against them has become a major challenge for the medical fraternity. Medicines such as acyclovir are available but they are only able to speed up the healing process to some extent and act as painkillers in most of the cases. However, we should be optimistic and expect a vaccination for herpes soon, seeing the advancement that is taking place in the medical field.