Genital Herpes Symptoms

Herpes Information

Genital herpes is recognized as a sexually transmitted disease that is caused by the Herpes simplex virus.

Herpes simplex virus, however, is of two types, namely: Type I and II. While type II is the main cause of genital herpes, Type I, although not prevalent, can also cause it.

It is transferred from one person to another person during sexual intercourse. As a matter of fact, even if the symptoms of the virus have not begun to manifest on the carrier, it can, and will still be communicated, as long as there is sexual contact.

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An interesting point of note, however, is, using protection like condoms or being ‘careful’ does not guarantee protection from the transmission of this infection. The reason being that while condom protects a major part of the sexual organ of the uninfected partner (mostly the man), the uncovered skin could still provide enough room for the transmission of this virus.

The disadvantage of relying on the appearance of symptoms before checking your status is that for genital herpes, the symptoms may not manifest until months or even years, after contracting the disease. Unfortunately, just like earlier mentioned, you can still transmit the infection to your subsequent sexual partners.

Read More: Gonorrhea in Ghana

What then are the Symptoms of Genital herpes?

With the alarming rate of these viral infections, it is highly important to project the symptoms to reduce its spread in Africa. Africa is still well behind the western world in the control of viral infections like these.

In almost all cases of genital herpes, all or some of the following symptoms have always presented themselves, depending on the type of the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) involved, and the duration of contracting the infection before treatment begins.

The skin around the genital areas of an infected person is, mostly, cracked and dry and/or the evidence of reddened areas around the genitals that present, initially, without itching, pain, or any tingling sensation.

Read More: Genital Herpes Overview

Genital Herpes – if left untreated

If still left untreated, small blisters begin to crack up into painful sores. It is usually noticed around the sexual organ or anal region – including the butt. Also, it could be discovered on the inner thighs close to the perineum, even the lower or rectal area.

Occasionally, the blisters could present inside the urinary tube called the urethra – a tube enclosed within the body of the female and the penis of the male that serves as a conduit for carrying urine outside the body.

Subsequently, there is painful urination, especially seen in females. This occurs as a result of the open sores around and on the urinary opening.

Conclusively, below, is a list of profound symptoms common to both genders:

  • Cracked, raw, or red areas around the genitalia without pain, itching, or tingling;
  • Tingling sensation or itching around the genitalia or anus;
  • Infected persons also suffer headaches as a result of this infection;
  • Backaches can be very frequent with infected persons;
  • Flu-like symptoms also occur in infected persons. These symptoms are fever, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue. 
  • Headaches;
  • Fever, incessant fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes are also symptoms that manifest from this condition.

There is no cure for general herpes, but the symptoms can be lessened and prevented with treatment.

Read More: Gonorrhea Treatment

Why Is It Important to Get Tested for STDs?

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STDs stand for sexually transmitted diseases, among which the most common are Gonorrhea, Syphilis, genital herpes, Chlamydia, AIDS, and many others. As the term suggests, STDs are diseases caused by viruses or bacteria that are transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse, including oral, vaginal, and anal sexual intercourse.

Sex is still a taboo in many countries, including Ghana, which only contributes to the widespread of the many possible STDs. Back in 2017, it has been revealed that Gonorrhea has affected approximately 6.6% of the women and 3.5% of the men in Ghana.  The prevalence of the HSV-1 and HSV-2 (Herpes Simplex Virus) was also high in the female population in Ghana. And syphilis has been found to be present within 2.7% of the women in Ghana as well. The prevalence of HIV in the adult population in Ghana was reported to be around 2.4%, being especially high in the Volta Region.

Read More: Gonorrhea in Ghana

Read More: Chlamydia in Ghana

Read More: Syphilis in Ghana

Read More: Genital Herpes in Ghana

5 Reasons why it is important to get tested for STDs

Here you get 5 reasons to get tested for STDS

It is an easy and quick procedure

For most STDs, the diagnosis includes taking a blood sample, a urine sample, or a simple swap. This is a process that can take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours. It is simple, easy, and quick, and not to mention that in most countries, testing for any STD is free of charge.

Early diagnosis is the key

Early diagnosis is the key to most health problems, including STDs. By detecting an existing STD in its early stages, you are increasing the success of treating and even curing it. Although learning that you are struggling with an STD can be scary, it should not hold you back from doing what is best for your health.

There is the proper treatment for most STDs available

Science has offered us proper treatment methods for most STDs, making it even possible for them to be cured. Even the hardest STDs can be properly treated and maintained so that the patient enjoys a good lifestyle and health quality as much as possible. The first step is getting diagnosed.

Read More: All you need to know about STD’s in Africa

Often STD symptoms are not visible

Unfortunately, many STDs are not causing any symptoms or are causing only mild symptoms until they enter a late stage. Once they enter a late stage, the damage is greater, and the treatment is harder and longer. If you suspect that you might have an STD, you should definitely get tested. For most STDs, their symptoms are not visible by the human eye, and testing is the only way to find out if they are present or not.

Testing helps protect your health

STDs threaten to reduce the quality of your health, introducing various health risks into your life. Infertility, cervical cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, damage to the internal organs, are only some of the potential health risks due to undiagnosed and untreated STD.

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Any STD should be reported to a health professional as soon as its first symptoms occur. However, that is often not the case. While feeling ashamed is probably the most common reason to not report a present STD, people, especially in Ghana and Africa in general, often fail to find a proper health professional that can diagnose and properly treat their health issue. It is of high importance to consult a doctor about any present health issue, including a present STD. And here are five reasons why you would consider talking to a doctor about it.

References

https://www.iamat.org/country/ghana/risk/sexually-transmitted-infections

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0205863

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6081947/

https://tradingeconomics.com/ghana/prevalence-of-syphilis-percent-of-women-attending-antenatal-care-wb-data.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5998162/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sexually-transmitted-diseases-stds/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351246

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8261726

https://www.parkview.com/community/dashboard/the-risks-of-untreated-stds

Genital Herpes in Ghana

The grim statistics of the spread of genital herpes is disturbing. More and more young men and women are finding themselves in dangerous exposures of the disease. It is good that some organizations are taking the lead in creating awareness for better sexual interactions. As in most societies, the youth and women from underserved communities are the most vulnerable. In addition to that, there is a need to improve the educational awareness of the communities.

In doing so, you create an avenue that most people will participate in and formulate their coping strategies. Due to the gap that exists between the leaders and the people in society, meaningful interaction does not exist. Equally, the prevalence of genital herpes continues to ravage the young and old.

Prevalence Statistics of Genital Herpes among Ghanaians

Again like in other studies, it is the women who discover their status on genital herpes. This happens when they undergo cervical screening. Since most of them come from poor backgrounds, they find out about herpes when they are over the latent stage. Poverty and ignorance are the two main reasons for the late diagnosis.

In combating the spread of HIV, the Ghanaian authorities need to put genital herpes into consideration. In the populations where HIV is high, most of the people are testing positive with herpes. This means there is a high rate of sexual activities across the spectrum. More stakeholders are now reaching out to the government to help in formulating a lasting solution to these endemic numbers.

Rural women are the pillars of the Ghanaian cultural setup. Unfortunately, they are the ones who are susceptible to the genital herpes menace. Poverty, coercion, and lack of proper screening all contribute to the spread of the virus. The first thing to do is helping these poor girls and mothers gain meaningful employment. That will stop the coercion and sexual exploitation for money.

Since genital herpes and HIV go hand in hand in this setup, there should be a multifaceted effort to manage both at once. In research showing the awareness and knowledge of young people on sexuality, the findings condemn both community and government agencies. Shockingly, girls below the age of 16 are engaging in sexual activities with more than one partner. Social workers need to step in and raise proper awareness of sexually transmitted diseases.

Mitigation

Reports after the other are urging the government to formulate and implement the measures today. The infections are in their endemic stages. Being cautious will not realize any meaningful results as of now.

The lack of appetite for policy formulation and poor accountability on the part of government agencies is contributing to the spread of the herpes virus. The civic society is doing the best it can, but the ultimate solution lies with the people. 

References

https://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12879-018-3288-1

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3121136/

http://www.sciencepublishinggroup.com/journal/paperinfo?journalid=280&doi=10.11648/j.ijidt.20180303.11

https://www.guttmacher.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/rib1-04.pdf