Herpes is one of the most common sexually transmitted disease, and is often transmitted unknowingly. It affects both men and women and is most usually spread because of having sexual relations with someone who is infected by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). There are no immediate symptoms to discern the condition, so unless you see warts in the mouth or genitals, there is no way of knowing that the person you just had intercourse with may have herpes.
When to See a Doctor?
Genital herpes can be very painful and is characterized by burning and itching sores in the genital area. Some people may have herpes sores around their mouth and lips too. If you are infected, you may not have any symptoms for a long time, thus not even knowing that you are a carrier. However, when the dormant virus in your body becomes active, it usually wreaks havoc on your nervous system and causes formation of warts and sores. These sores are painful and may burn and itch. If you pick on these sores, they may become further infected, and may even bleed. If you see sores or warts on your genitals, or around your mouth, you may have to immediately contact a doctor.
Which Doctor to See?
Almost all general physicians have the expertise to treat sexually transmitted diseases. If you are not sure who to see for your condition, just walk into an emergency care center at any nearby hospital, or a hospital covered by your health insurance and ask for a specialist. Depending on your specific symptoms, the staff will assign you to a doctor who can best help you.
Test and Diagnosis
During your appointment, your doctor is likely to ask you several personal questions, not only about your symptoms, but also about your sexual health and habits. These are important for determining the cause and the condition. You may have to undergo some tests, including a general blood culture, a viral culture and a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. These will help the doctor determine whether you have herpes, and what direction your treatment should follow.
Treatment and Drugs
So far, herpes remains an untreatable condition. The treatment of herpes focuses on helping the sores heal sooner than they would have and lessen the severity as well as the duration of an outbreak. The doctor will prescribe you antivirus drugs such as acyclovir, famciclovir, and Valacyclovir. If you have recurrent outbreaks, as most people do, these drugs may help increase the duration of remission and you will remain symptom free for longer periods between two successive outbreaks. These medications can also help minimize the chances of transmitting the virus to another, healthy person, therefore helping you live a relatively normal life.
Support and Coping
Herpes can be a complete life changer. For men and women who suffer from herpes, life can often be lonely and painful. However, it does not need to be so. Advanced medications can help you get relief from your condition, and can also help you lead a normal life to an extent. Several support groups help people cope with this new life that was forced upon them. These days, there are exclusive dating portals to help people suffering from herpes find companionship and love. Life does not have to be as dismal as it once used to be, even if you are suffering from the STD. Just keep following up with your doctor and reach out to people who are suffering just like you for support. As you go along, you will realize that you can continue to live like you used to before the infection.