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There are two types of Herpes virus, namely: Type 1 Herpes which is carried by over 80 per cent of the population and is the culprit behind recurrent cold sores; and Type 2 Herpes which affects five to 20 per cent of the population. This type is often associated with genital herpes.
Studies show that genital herpes simplex virus infects more than 1 of 5 adolescents and adults. It is more common in blacks than in whites, and more likely to infect women than men. Most people with genital herpes don’t know they have it, and are unaware that they are spreading it to others. Many have no symptoms or mistake their symptoms for something else such as jock itch, insect bites, hemorrhoids, yeast infections, razor burn, or allergies to laundry detergent.
Infection in the genital region initially produces a painful, red, ulcerating crop of lesions that can spread over a wide area and may involve the perinuem and anus. Genital infection can also be associated with temporary numbness in the affected area, swelling glands in the groin, difficulty passing urine, and fever. Occasionally, primary infections such as these can also trigger viral meningitis.
Some years ago, genital herpes was diagnosed solely by visual inspection and laboratory culture of an active sore. Today, herpes may be diagnosed with a blood test, even when no symptoms are apparent or after sores have healed. Antiviral drugs have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in reducing the infection.
There is no cure for any herpes viruses. Once a person caught a herpes virus it stays in the body for life although it is latent most of the time. However, a medication that can treat the outbreaks and symptoms of herpes as well as reduce future outbreaks is available.
Acyclovir is a drug used for the treatment of several conditions including herpes infections. Acyclovir medication is available over the counter and commonly known under the brand name Zovirax. Acyclovir medication Zovirax is usually used for the treatment of facial cold sores.
Acyclovir ointment is used topically to treat initial genital herpes where it has been shown to decrease pain, reduce healing time, and limit the spread of the infection. Acyclovir is also available as a prescription tablet used to treat genital herpes infections and to treat patients with recurrent severe genital herpes. The dosage will be determined by the doctor. It is very common to prescribe a 5-day course of 3 tablets a day taken with 4 hour intervals, but this may vary. It is very important not to miss any doses because the patient needs to keep the level of Acyclovir up in their body. This episodic treatment will reduce the severity, frequency and duration of the outbreak as well as reduce future outbreaks and reduce the risk of spreading. Acyclovir can also be used to treat chicken pox and acts to reduce the healing time, limit the number of lesions, and reduce fever if used within the first 24 hours after the onset of the disease.
However, before starting to take this medicine, it is vital for a person with herpes to consult a doctor. Most anti-viral medications should not be used without medical advice or doctor’s prescription.
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