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Question:

I asked u about the genital herpes few days back and u guided me well, but some questions are worrying me.

Please clear my following doubts.

I heard there's no cure for genital herpes. it remains in our body for lifetime.

Is it dangerous when active or inactive respectively?

Can I affect others while having sex when its inactive?

Harshit

Answer:

Dear Harshit,

During latency, the virus is not transmissible.

At times, however, this latent period ends and the virus goes through a process called shedding.

When shedding, the virus begins to multiply and becomes transmittable, but without any apparent symptoms.

Shedding is an especially insidious stage, and studies indicate that asymptomatic shedding with subsequent viral transmission to another person possibly accounts for one-third of all HSV-2 infections.

Preventive measures with genital herpes are:

Avoid sexual intercourse if either partner has blisters or sores.

Have the male use a condom during intercourse if either sex partner has inactive genital herpes (especially important if the infected partner has frequent recurrences).

Avoid sexual intercourse until symptoms disappear.

The severity of symptoms depends on where and how the virus gains entry into the body.

Except in very rare instances and in special circumstances, the disease is not life threatening, although it can be very debilitating and cause great emotional distress.

Genital herpes is a highly contagious infection.

Genital herpes is one of the most common viral sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the world but it is rarely dangerous compared with other STDs.

Herpes is potentially contagious when no symptoms are present. That is, a person who has genital herpes is potentially always shedding active virus.

Women who have had genital herpes in the past don't necessarily exhibit symptoms every time the virus becomes active, even though they are contagious.
Genital herpes virus is particularly dangerous to pregnant women.

Genital herpes can be dangerous for the newborn.

When the virus is inactive, sexual intercourse can occur without a partner becoming infected.

Genital herpes has emerged as a major risk factor in the spread of HIV.

It remains inactive until something triggers it to become active again.

The immune system is able to destroy active herpes virus particles but the herpes virus has the ability to hide from the immune system in an inactive.

After the initial replication, the viral particles are carried from the skin through branches of nerve cells to clusters at the nerve-cell ends, the ganglia.

Here, the virus persists in an inactive ( latent) form, in which complete viral replication does not occur but both the host cells and the virus survive.

Infection is not apparent during these periods. In many cases, the virus begins multiplying again, and in symptomatic patients, skin lesions often recur.

Arthritis affecting a single joint has been sporadically reported as a result of HSV infection.

Certain kidney and blood diseases have also been reported in conjunction with HSV infection.

HSV can affect the liver and in rare cases it may cause hepatitis. This is an uncommon complication in people with healthy immune systems, but in rare cases can cause life-threatening complications.

Some studies have reported an association between HSV-1 and 2 with a higher risk for coronary artery disease.

People with HSV-2 may have an increased susceptibility for sexually transmitted hepatitis C.

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