Sex is a human’s need. There are multiple reasons why doctors and medical practitioners emphasize having healthy sex. It boosts immunity, betters sleep, lower blood pressure, improves self-esteem, reduces depression and the list goes on. But if you are not indulging in mindful sex, it can lead to a deadly disease. Of all sexually transmitted diseases, herpes is commonly found.
One unfortunate fact about any sexually transmitted infection is people barely talk about it. just like every other disease, genital herpes is a type of infection that needs medical treatment. It is nothing to be shy about. Also, gone are the days when people were barely aware of such infections. Now, it is time to open up to the public about such serious issues.
The reason why many people shy away from talking about sexually transmitted diseases is their lack of education about them. That is why we have come up with this blog on genital herpes and its testing. Here, you will get an idea about genital herpes, its causes, and the details of the genital herpes test. Therefore, without any further delay, let’s get started.
What is genital herpes?
A sexually transmitted disease or STD that results in painful blisters and boils in the genital area that can be busted is known as genital herpes. These blisters later get busted and a liquid or a sticky fluid mixed with blood oozes out. As soon as the blister is gone, the pain resolves. However, pricking these blistering is not the end to genital herpes. Many consider genital herpes synonymous with any other normal pimple and prick it instantly. As a result, the situation gets worse near the genitals. The more you pop genital blisters, the more they develop.
To understand any disease, it is necessary to tread to its roots. Similarly, there are some causes of genital herpes. Genital herpes is caused by two different types of HSV or herpes simplex virus. They are:
- HSV-1 – Generally, HSV-1 leads to cold sores. However, it can also cause genital herpes.
- HSV-2 – Generally, HSV-2 causes cold sores. But it can also lead to genital herpes.
For the virus to enter the human body, it needs mucus membranes or some skin abrasions. To put it simply, this mucus membrane or skin abrasion is like the medium through which the virus gets transmitted. As soon as the viruses get inside the body, they fix themselves into the various body cells. As we all know, the nature of the virus is to multiply. Likewise, the virus of genital herpes adapts itself quickly to the environment inside the body and multiplies at light speed. Hence, this multiplication and adaption of the viruses make it very difficult to treat genital herpes.
Importance of genital herpes testing?
Now that you have got an idea about genital herpes, it is necessary to emphasize the importance of a genital herpes test. There are three strong and potential reasons for genital herpes screening. They are as follows:
- To detect if the HSV virus has caused the sores on the genitals or the mouth
- To figure out if the HSV virus has infected a newborn baby
- To diagnose if HSV has infected a pregnant woman
Reason to get an HSV test
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no person can get HSV testing or screening without the recommendation of any medical practitioner. However, to know if you need genital herpes testing, these are the clauses that you need to abide by:
- If you have had sex with a partner who is infected with herpes.
- If you have noticed symptoms of herpes in your body, especially in the genitals and mouth.
- If you are pregnant and either you or your partner has a medical history of herpes infection.
- If your newborn baby is infected with herpes.
Of the two responsible viruses that cause genital herpes, HSV-2 has a chance of developing HIV in your body. However, if you have multiple sexual partners or same-sex sexual partners, you are at a high risk of developing STDs. Hence, genital herpes or similar other sexually transmitted diseases can be treated medically to keep them in control, if not eliminate them.
Procedures in an HSV test
There are three processes that a doctor follows to conduct an HSV test. They are blood tests, swab tests and lumbar punctures. To detect the type of test you need, the doctor will first go through your symptoms thoroughly. In a way, it can be said that the symptoms of genitalia can determine the kind of test that you need. Let us now discuss each one of them in details.
- Swab test – In this test, a healthcare provider will gather cells and fluids from the body, precisely from the blisters near your mouth or genitals where a herpes sore has occurred.
- Blood test – In this test, a medical professional will use a needle and pierce it in the vein of your arm to collect a blood sample. The blood collected in the needle is then transferred into a vial or test tube. The whole process generally takes five minutes. You might feel a little stingy sensation. But there is nothing to worry about it.
- Lumbar puncture – This process is also known as a spinal tap. The only condition that determines that a person needs a spinal tap is to ensure that you have been infected in the spinal cord or the brain. While conducting a spinal tap, first you need to lie down or sit on the table. While lying down, remember to lie on the side as the healthcare professional will then inject an anaesthetic solution on your back. Besides a solution, sometimes, a numbing cream is also used to numb the area. Once you lose sensation, the healthcare professional will insert a thin needle in between the two vertebrae of your spinal cord.
Therefore, now that you have a clear understanding of genital herpes, it is time to check on yourself and see if you are suffering from the same. Genital herpes is a serious issue that needs proper medical attention. The earlier medical treatment you provide, the better it gets.