What’s Herpes and Benefits of Testing at Home

Herpes Information

Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and infections (STIs) are widely prevalent across the globe, particularly in low- to middle-income countries, and Ghana is no exception. Genital herpes is one of the most common STDs, but most people don’t even know they have it. That’s where the tests step in. What are herpes and its causes? Why get tested? What are the benefits of home tests? Learn more below.

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What is herpes?

Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a viral infection that usually affects the mouth, genitals, and the anal area. We can divide HSV cases into two main types: HSV-1, which mainly causes oral herpes and HSV-2, which primarily causes genital herpes.

Due to this fact, HSV is a contagious virus, and it is transmitted through direct contact from one person to another. When it comes to the HSV-2 virus, a person becomes infected through sexual contact with a man or woman who already has this virus.

Who is at risk of herpes?

Generally speaking, everyone can develop herpes, but some people are at a higher risk than others. Common risk factors for genital herpes include:

  • Weak immune system
  • Having multiple sex partners
  • Having another sexually transmitted infection
  • Having sexual intercourse at a young age
  • Being a woman

Studies show that the seroprevalence of both HSV-1 and HSV-2 among women in Ghana is high. High prevalence of herpes could be down to high endemicity and ineffective intervention in women across the country. Seroprevalence is defined as the number of people in a certain population who test positive for some disease or condition based on blood serum (serology) specimen. Scientists found that there is low awareness of the clinical symptoms and other aspects of herpes among women. That’s why raising public awareness of genital herpes, symptoms, causes, could help lower the prevalence of this problem.

Read More: Genital Herpes in Ghana

What are the symptoms of herpes?

What many people don’t realize is that they can have herpes virus and still not display any symptoms. So, just because you don’t have visible symptoms, it doesn’t mean you are not infected or that you cannot transmit the infection to someone else. When symptoms do occur, they are:

  • Pain during urination
  • Blistering sores on genitals
  • Itching

It’s also useful to mention some people may experience flu-like symptoms such as tiredness, fever, swollen lymph nodes, headache, and lack of appetite.

Read More: Genital Herpes Symptoms

Why get tested for herpes?

The biggest problem in Ghana is the lack of public awareness of genital herpes. That’s the reason behind the growing prevalence. Getting tested for herpes could be a useful strategy to reduce the incidence of genital herpes but also to prevent infected people from transmitting it to others. Getting tested for herpes could also emphasize the importance of safe sex practices.

Generally speaking, it is not recommended to get a blood test for herpes unless symptoms are present. For example, not unless you have sores on your genitals or anus. That being said, reasons to get tested for herpes are numerous, including:

  • Sex partner is infected
  • You’re pregnant, and you or your partner has already had symptoms of genital herpes

Product: Right Sign Herpes Test Kit

Product: One Step Herpes Test

What is the home test for herpes?

Long gone are the days when you needed to schedule an appointment at the doctor’s office to test for herpes. The healthcare system is not that effective to suit a larger group of people, it can be overwhelming to sit in the waiting room to do the test, and there is no flexibility in the whole process. Home tests for herpes are able to fix all these problems.

Home tests for herpes are convenient; everyone can do them without having to schedule an appointment. There is no awkward or any other uncomfortable feeling. At the same time, you can do the test when you feel like you need it; no need to wait for the symptoms to show up first.

Genital Herpes Treatment

For example, if you’re wondering whether you have gotten herpes from someone, this test can show you. Bear in mind it is necessary to wait for about 12 weeks after the sexual activity before you get tested. Home test for herpes may also be useful if you find out your previous sex partner was infected, you’re about to start a new relationship, you have unprotected sex,  you’re very sexually active, and if you used a needle or syringe to inject drugs in your body that an infected person has already used.

All the above-mentioned scenarios are uncomfortable and stressful. Home tests are accurate, precise, and help take away any doubt you might have. Plus, doing the test is incredibly easy and discrete.

Awareness About Genital Herpes in the African Region

In a country like Ghana, where the public awareness of sexually transmitted diseases and infections is low, there is a stigma about deciding to get tested. That’s the reason why many people don’t do so. The home test doesn’t require a trip to some specific location, gives people the privacy they need to learn whether they are infected or not.

Read More: STD’s in Ghana

If you are a sexually active person who doesn’t practice safe sex, you probably want to know whether you have herpes or not, since it’s one of the most common problems that people develop. Finding out has never been easier. You can learn whether you have herpes or not from the comfort of your home, without stress, hassle, and social stigma.

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

Getting a home test for herpes will help you protect yourself in the future, inspire you to be more careful, and also increase awareness of herpes. Thanks to home tests for herpes, people, especially women, have the ability to gain more control over their sexual and reproductive health, modify their lifestyle, and avoid potential problems in the future.

References:

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

https://mariestopes.org.gh/what-we-do/sti-testing/

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.

Product: One Step Gonorrhea Test

Product: Right Sign Gonorrhea Test

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