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What is the cause and treatment of genital herpes?

Q: I am 31 years old. I had sex with a woman who is not a prostitute without a condom. After a week I found some sort of prickly sores on my private and surrounding area. I consulted a dermatologist and he told me that I was infected with genital herpes. I did blood tests for VDRL and HIV. Both were negative. The doctor gave me Acivir tablet and I had it for 15 days. He removed the sores one by one by using a syringe. After 20 days, he removed them again, which were less compared to the previous time. He gave me Thuja 200, a homeopathy medicine and I took it for seven months. Till today, I never had sex with any one. I tested for HIV four times at different time intervals all of which were negative. Recently I came to know that genital herpes is incurable. Now I plan to get married. Can I get married? Will I transmit it to my wife even when the virus is in inactive state. How can I avoid transmitting it to my wife? Please suggest a medicine so that I can avoid any outbreaks in future?

A:Genital herpes is a common, highly infectious disease, which is transmitted from one person to another during sexual activity. It causes blisters or groups of small ulcers (open sores) on and around the genitals in both men and women. The disease cannot be cured, only controlled as treatment does not remove the virus, which usually lives (in an inactive form) in an infected person forever. Genital herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) and this virus is of two types: HSV-1 and HSV-2. Most genital herpes infections are caused by HSV-2. HSV-1 is the usual cause of blisters in and around the mouth and can be transmitted from person to person through kissing. Less often, HSV-1 can cause genital herpes infections through oral sexual contact. The genital sores caused by either virus look the same. Genital herpes is spread by direct contact with an infected person. Sexual intercourse and oral sex are the most common methods of spreading genital herpes. Any type of skin-to-skin contact, however, is capable of spreading herpes. Drug treatment is effective in shortening the initial outbreak of the infection, reduces the risk of recurrence and makes any later outbreaks less severe. Three antiviral drugs (Acyclovir, Famciclovir & Valacyclovir) are used, which vary in cost and duration of use though generally they are taken for 7-10 days. People with genital herpes outbreaks are highly contagious. Anyone with active disease should avoid any sexual contact when sores are present. Even the use of a condom does not prevent the spread of disease because the condom covers not all sores. Although the chance of spreading disease is greatest when sores are present, people who have had genital herpes may always be contagious to some degree, even if they have received medical treatment. The virus can become active and be transmitted to a sexual partner even when the skin appears completely normal. For this reason, safe sex practices (use of a condom) should be used between disease outbreaks to lessen the chance of spreading disease to a sexual partner.

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