Herpes: Causes, Prevention & Treatments

Today in health, let’s discuss one uncommon disease known as herpes. Uncommon because it isn't a disease most people in Africa know about.
Herpes, a sexually transmitted infection is a disease commonly found among sexually active persons. It is caused by a virus of two (2) kinds. The first type of herpes which is mostly caused by genital herpes infection is HSV-1 (type 1) and the other caused by oral infection is HSV-2 (type 2)

Most people with genital herpes do not even know they have the infection. Some have no symptoms while others do have but at a very low rate and might not notice they do.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 77,6000 people in the United States
get new herpes infections yearly and about one out of six (1 of  6) individuals aged 14 to 49 have genital herpes caused by the HSV-2 infection  

How the virus can be transmitted (Causes)

  • Skin-to-skin contact is one major way one can contract the infection.
  • One can get infected with the virus through oral sex. Even though I haven’t conducted any research on the number of individuals practicing oral sex, I know you will agree with me that over 90% of individuals from age 15 and above have at least kissed or had oral sex once.
  • Anal sex is another way one can contract the virus. Over the years the practice of oral sex is getting more common. I’d advise you take note of the risk involved and always try to play safe by protecting yourself at all times.
  • The virus can also be transmitted through childbirth, thus from mother to baby. I’d advise you seek medical help if you are infected and expecting a baby or planning on having one.
  • Fluid in herpes sore contains the virus which can be transmitted through vaginal, anal, and oral sex.
  • sharing sex toys
  • The infection can also be spread across one person to another by touching the infected area (sore/body) of someone carrying the infection and also by using the infected hand on other parts of the body.

Signs and Symptoms
  • Flu
  • Fever
  • Body aches
  • Swollen glands
  • Vaginal discharge
  • pain and itching
  • tender, enlarged lymph nodes
  • pain when urinating
  • high temperature

Herpes has no cure, but can be treated with medications which will reduce pain and symptoms as well as reducing the rate at transmitting it from one person to another.


  • Using condoms consistently and correctly can reduce the risk of acquiring or transmitting the infection.
  • You can also abstain from sex or be with someone who has been tested and has not contracted the infection.
  • Using valacyclovir daily can decrease the rate of HSV-2 transmission in discordant.

How to know if you are infected?

Visit your health center and get tested. A sample of your blood will be needed to run the test.

I’d conclude by urging you guys to get tested though the virus is not as deadly as HIV but can be if one has the infection for long and have not been receiving treatments. Furthermore, if one has the virus, one should open up to their partners about it so they don’t get infected without their knowledge.

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