It 'a very common STD caused by a virus, Herpes Virus (often HSV-2), similar to the one that causes the classic blisters on the mouth.
Once infected, the virus remains in the body for life. You can only make therapies aimed at relieving symptoms and shorten the healing time of injuries.
Who has genital herpes runs a five times higher risk of being infected with HIV if they have unprotected sex with HIV-positive people during an acute herpetic episode.

How is it transmitted?

- With unprotected sex: they are at risk ALL types of relationship (oral, anal, vaginal).
- Pursuing unprotected oral sex (both active and passive).
- With the simple contact between the genitals.
- Through mutual masturbation.
- Through kisses, caresses, effusions (the virus is eliminated on skin and mucous membranes).
- Through contact with the lesions (they are very infectious).
- Using a contaminated genital instruments.
- With exchange and use of contaminated sex toys.
- Through passage of the virus from infected mother to child during childbirth.

What are the symptoms?

First infection:
Usually it starts with an annoying burning sensation and tingling in the area where will later appear the lesions; multiple and painful lesions develop, similar to blisters on the skin or mucosa of the genitals. Quickly vesicles rupture, leading to small painful ulcers. Later appear the scabs that disappear in a few days.

Possible complications arefever, headache, joint pain, constipation (in case of anal herpes), difficulty or inability to urinate.

Swelling of the genitals (the glands of the groin are painful), possible urethral, vaginal or anal losses .

Subsequent episodes:
Subsequent episodes at first are much milder but still annoying, depending on the location. Once in the body, the virus wakes up periodically thereafter also to various stress (fever, other infections, sunlight, sunlamps, trauma) and causes symptoms similar to the first time, but milder.

How is it diagnosed?

The diagnosis is usually based on the clinical observation of lesions.
To determine whether a person has been exposed to the herpes virus, there are tests for the detection of antibodies in the blood.

How is it treated?

Currently there is no cure for the Herpes virus. Your doctor may still decide whether to use antiviral drugs, aimed at reducing the duration of the lesions and symptoms.
They can give relief bathing in lightly salted water or compresses with ice wrapped in a cloth. Also substances such as starch or alcohol (very painful!). More effective are the dermatological creams based on antivirals.
In severe cases, pain killers may also be prescribed (especially during the first infection).

How to prevent it?

- Abstain from sexual intercourse during acute episodes (when there are blisters on the genitals).
- Use a condom during sexual intercourse.
- Use a condom from the beginning of sexual intercourse and not just at the very end.
- Use a condom to protect the objects used for the sexual practice.
- Use a condom from the beginning even during oral sex.

The condom is still the best way to reduce the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), although in the case of herpes it does not give total protection against the virus.
The use of condoms reduces by 50% the risk of contagion in times when there is the elimination of the virus from the skin (but no blisters).