The Diagnosis and Management of Genital Herpes: The Silent Epidemic

Herpes usually looks like small, red or flesh-coloured blisters filled with a clear or cloudy fluid. These blisters may appear as a single sore or in clusters, often breaking open to become painful ulcers. After some time, these ulcers crust over and heal without leaving a scar.

Bursting either of them can also mean a discharge of blood. While the sores are themselves not full of blood, bursting of the skin underneath will cause bleeding.

Herpes looks like white, yellow, or red translucent sores or bumps, filled with a clear liquid, whereas pimples are pink or red and are not see-through. While pimples may appear individually as well as in clusters but in recognizable patterns, herpes sores are primarily observed in a bunch.

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In essence, the location of the genital herpes outbreak (or oral) is determined more by the site of infection rather than the type of Herpes Simplex Virus. Therefore, while there are similarities between the two regarding the virus causing them, oral and genital herpes are not the same due to differences in typical location, mode of transmission, and social stigma.

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How do you know for sure?

While genital herpes and facial (oral) herpes are both caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), they are typically caused by different strains of the virus and affect other areas of the body.

Men with genital herpes may notice this discharge from the penis. At the same time, women may experience it as an increased vaginal discharge. In both cases, the discharge should be considered infectious and can transmit the virus to a sexual partner. Thus, it’s crucial to refrain from skin-to-skin contact or sexual activity during an active outbreak to prevent the spread of the herpes virus.

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It is more likely for pimples to appear in areas where sweat and dirt can accumulate, such as where you wear tight clothing, for instance, tight underwear, bra, jockstraps, etc. Their occurrence increases during summers because your whole body may sweat then.

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Other symptoms

Some people have a lot of fears and misconceptions about herpes, but it’s a common STD. It can be painful and uncomfortable during outbreaks, but it’s not deadly and it doesn’t cause serious health problems. So if you have genital herpes, try not to panic or feel too bad about it. Millions of people are living with herpes, so you’re not alone. And even though there’s no cure for herpes, there are plenty of ways to treat the symptoms and manage the infection. Your doctor will tell you about the best treatment options for your situation.

Herpes brings with it a rash that resembles quite a lot of different conditions – another sexually transmitted disease such as warts or syphilis, ingrown hairs, bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections (thrush), hemorrhoids, bug bites, irritation caused by shaving, and quite commonly, pimples.

HSV-2 commonly causes genital herpes, but precisely what does herpes look like in the genital area? It manifests as blisters and sores. However, HSV-1 can also cause genital herpes, usually through oral-genital contact, such as during oral sex.

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The two main types of HSV are HSV-1 and HSV-2. The former commonly results in blisters around the mouth, including cold sores and fever blisters, and is typically associated with oral herpes.

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What Does Herpes Look Like?

Since pimples are caused by clogged-up pores, they are located within the pores themselves. This means that they are embedded into the deep layers of the skin, as opposed to herpes sores which lie externally on the surface of the skin. Pimples only expand above the skin if they accumulate enough pus to do so.

If you feel like your sores keep appearing and then disappearing, it is most likely herpes because pimples follow no such cycle. They can appear anytime and clear up quickly on their own, the time of fading depending upon the amount of pus stored within.

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However, HSV-2 primarily targets the genital region, causing genital herpes. Notably, this doesn’t imply that every person with oral blisters has contracted HSV-1, as they could have potentially acquired HSV-2 from oral-to-genital contact with someone who has genital herpes sores.

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HSV-1 & HSV-2

Herpes sores appear on the mouth region, as well as the genital region which not only includes the genitalia (penis and vagina) but also areas such as the rectum, buttocks, cervix (in women), and thighs. On the other hand, pimples can appear anywhere.

Herpes rashes occur in recurrent cycles of about 2 weeks, which include their appearance, growth, and crusting before eventually bursting to leave behind an ulcer-like sore and scrabs. The bursting is very painful itself. This cycle keeps repeating until there is medical intervention, and before the appearance of the next sore, there is a painful and sensitive itching sensation. The first occurrence is the most painful one.

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