How genital herpes is transmitted and treated


  • Causative agent and transmission routes
  • Causes of virus activation
  • Incubation
  • Symptoms
  • Types of recurrent herpes
  • Complications
  • Diagnostics
  • Treatment
  • Prevention

Itchy, painful clusters of repulsive bubbles on the genitals are the result of the activity of herpes infections of the 1st and 2nd types. Genital herpes not only deprives a man of normal sex life, but also disrupts the work of the entire immune system of the body.

Causative agent and transmission routes

Herpes was first described by Roman doctors in the first century BC. To date, according to ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases), the genital form of this virus is assigned the code A60.

Types of herpes simplex virus HSV-1 and HSV-2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2) differ in the structure of the shell. The second one has more developed abilities of attachment to the walls, therefore it is more common on the genitals (80%). The first type is not as abundant and painful rashes as the second.

Herpes virus is very tenacious. It does not respond to an increase in the temperature of the human body, it loses its activity when frozen, but it quickly restores it when it thaws. Even in the external environment under favorable conditions, it can remain viable for about an hour. For this reason, infection with genital herpes occurs not only sexually, but also household , although much less frequently. Any contact of mucous membranes with the pathogen leads to its integration into the tissue and infection.


Herpetic infection is very insidious. It can not be removed from the body, because viral particles (virions) do not just penetrate into the cell, but reach its core and merge with it, making changes directly to the DNA. As a result, the infected cell produces similar to itself, contributing to the reproduction of the virus. When the infection reaches a certain limit, symptoms appear.

Causes of virus activation

Herpes does not stop on the cells of the mucous membranes, but penetrates the nerve endings, moving towards the spinal cord in the coccyx area. There he “falls asleep”, oppressed by antibodies produced by the immune system. When exposed to antiviral drugs, located in the cells of tissues, the pathogen dies, but live virions remain in the nerves and spinal cord. It is they who provoke periodic relapses with weakened immunity, manifested by rashes in the groin and waist. This is what genital herpes looks like:


Most people are unaware that they are infected with the herpes virus, since immunity keeps it in remission. The main reasons for the intensification of the infection are:

  • serious illness;
  • a long course of taking antihistamines;
  • chemotherapy;
  • therapy with drugs against the rejection of the donor organ;
  • depletion from physical overload, unbalanced nutrition;
  • bad habits;
  • nerve shocks;
  • severe overheating or overcooling.

Genital herpes is more often fixed in men engaged in heavy physical labor, working in adverse conditions (in cold, in heat, on water).


The incubation period of a herpes infection depends on the state of a person’s health: the less illness and immunity he has, the longer the development of herpes will be until the first symptoms. This period can be from 1 to 30 days. Also, the pathogen area of ​​the pathogen plays a role: the larger it is, the faster the activation will occur. The largest amount of infection enters the body during sexual intercourse.

The replicated virus enters the systemic circulation, lymph and body fluids, spreading throughout the body.


Primary genital herpes after an incubation period does not necessarily show itself to be characteristic features. Often, the infection immediately imperceptibly takes a chronic course until the first relapse. In cases where the incubation ends with bright symptoms, relapses occur regularly and are quite difficult.

At the first signs of genital herpes in certain areas of the groin (one or several), a slight burning and itching is felt, which, when scratched, turns into pain. The skin in these places reddens and swells. This means that the multiplied virus begins to enter the extracellular space. In addition to local signs, a slight increase in the overall temperature, malaise, and an increase in the inguinal lymph nodes are also possible. In the body at the time of the initial release of the virus, antibodies are absent, the immunity is not ready to suppress and localize the infection, therefore there are intoxication symptoms.

The main symptom of herpes is a rash that appears 1-3 days after itching. It is represented by individual or grouped vesicles (vesicles) with infected fluid. Vesicles quickly open, in their place, moist ulcers, sometimes occupying vast areas, are formed. As the activity of the virus decays, they dry out and descend.

The main places of localization of herpetic eruptions in men:

  • leaves of the foreskin (head protecting skin);
  • coronal groove (recess around the head);
  • scaphoid fossa (the final part of the urethra in front of the external opening, hidden in the head);
  • head, body of the penis (infrequent cases);
  • scrotum.

With the localization of the rash in the area of ​​the urethra during urination, there is a feeling of heat, pain and burning. Less often rashes go to the hips.

Both classical and non-traditional forms of intimate relationships sometimes lead to the appearance of herpetic vesicles in the rectal area. This is fraught with not only extremely painful sensations during defecation, but also the formation of a chronic anal fissure, which tends to open periodically. Also characterized by arching pains in the colon, even at rest, often increased gas formation.

The period of acute symptoms for primary herpes can be from 3 to 5 weeks.

Types of recurrent herpes

After the initial infection, herpes infection is prone to periodic relapses. At the same time, the period of exacerbation can proceed in various forms:

  • typical . Rash appear on the mucous membranes of the genital organs, and usually in the same places. The process follows the pattern typical for this period;
  • atypical . The rash is formed by larger and painful blisters, the remaining ulcers do not heal for a long time. There may be severe swelling, and even tissue death;
  • subclinical . The symptoms almost do not appear, except for a weak itch with the formation of microcracks.

In the latter case, genital herpes is found only in tests that are taken to detect hidden infections. Before that, a man may not notice any signs and infect his partners during various intimate contacts.

Often recurrent genital herpes can seriously impair the quality of life of a man. Of psychosomatic manifestations, impotence is often noted, which arises because of fear and aversion to sexual contact, neurasthenia. Periods of exacerbations can last for weeks, especially with weakened immunity. It is necessary to undergo an accurate diagnosis and start a course of treatment.

The more often relapses recur, the more immune (immune) cells that are able to produce antiviral substances are affected.


The activity of the herpes virus in the body is not limited to external manifestations. In some cases, there are all sorts of complications:

  • neuralgia . Caused by pelvic plexus infection. Manifested by extensive sharp pain in the pelvic area;
  • reduction in overall immunity , leading to the occurrence of concomitant diseases. Most often occurs urethritis , cystitis ;
  • the virus is able to invade sperm , disrupting the process of spermatogenesis. Prolonged activity of herpes in this direction leads to infertility;
  • herpetic prostatitis . The virus causes inflammation of the prostate gland in 30% of cases.

Symptoms of the above diseases occur simultaneously with exacerbations of infection.


When signs of genital herpes appear, a man can turn to a urologist, venereologist, and dermatologist for diagnosis. At the reception is carried out a visual inspection of the genital organs, as well as the area of ​​the anus. In the latter case, a rectoscope is often used – a special thin device that helps to detect hidden vesicular rashes and ulcerations on the walls of the rectum.

The following types of materials are used for analysis:

  • blood;
  • urine;
  • prostatic secretion;
  • urethral secret;
  • smears from rashes;
  • sperm.

The virus is rarely detected in all biological fluids, so in case of doubt, the doctor may prescribe several types of tests.

In order to isolate a virus and identify its type, the RIF method (immunofluorescence reaction) is used. Using PCR (polymerase chain reaction), antigens (foreign substances produced by the virus) are detected. Detection of antibodies (immune cells produced in response to antigens) such as IgM and IgG determine the nature of the development of the infection.


Neither genital herpes, nor any other type of this virus can be completely cured due to the characteristics of its localization inside the body. But with the help of complex therapy, the number of pathogens is significantly reduced, immunity is strengthened.

Etiotropic methods

Etiotropic treatment involves the suppression of the activity of herpes and its partial destruction by antiviral drugs. The basis of most funds is acyclovir. This chemical compound effectively blocks the DNA of the virus, does not allow it to multiply. Moreover, the action of acyclovir is selective – the structure of the cell itself, in which the herpes has infiltrated, is not disturbed.

The following antiviral drugs are used during the treatment:

  • Famciclovir (highest bioavailability);
  • Aciclovir ;
  • Valtrex (Vaciclovir);
  • Alpizarin, Panavir (on vegetable raw materials).

The frequency of admission is determined by the doctor individually, depending on the nature of the disease. According to the classical scheme, Acyclovir during exacerbation is taken 5 times a day, Famciclovir and Valtrekspo 2 times.

In addition to tablets, local application agents are used to relieve pain, burning, and also for the purpose of speedy resolution and healing of vesicles:

  • Acyclovir ointment, Acyclovir Hexal cream ;
  • creams “Vektavir”, “Supravira”;
  • Alpizarin ointment;
  • gel “Panavir”;
  • quot; Cyclopherone & quot ; .

Lubricate the lesions is necessary 5 times a day for 5-10 days. Cycloferon is used 1-2 times.

If the rash is rectal, then the candles “Panavir”, “Galavit”, “Genferon” are prescribed.

The above preparations significantly speed up the healing process and improve the overall condition. The course lasts from 5 to 10 days.

Pathogenetic methods

Herpes infection suppresses the production of interferons – proteins responsible for combating alien organisms. The task of pathogenetic treatment methods is to fill their deficiency and stimulate the production of new ones. For this purpose, apply:

  • immunoglobulin (antiherpetic antibodies);
  • Vitagerpavac vaccine ;
  • interferons: IFN – EU (injection), IFN-Lipint (capsules), Viferon (rectal suppositories);
  • interferon production stimulants: Kagocel, Cycloferon, Neovir, Ridostin, Flavozid, and Chelepin-D (vegetable);
  • stimulators of phagocytosis (the process of absorption of pathogens): Timogen, Taktivin.

Such immunomodulators as Imunofan, Galavit, Polyoxidonium, Likopid can not be taken independently without prior examination for determination of the immune status!

Gently activates and corrects the antiherpetic immunity of the biological drug Ferrovir.

Symptomatic methods

The pain, fever and weakness arising from herpes exacerbations will help relieve Paracetamol or Ibuprofen.

Of the folk methods are often used warm sessile baths based on sea salt (50 g per 10 liters of water). Such procedures have a drying, painful and itchy effect. Also relieve the symptoms of herpes bath with decoction of the series, chamomile, calendula. For the preparation of 10-20 g of raw material is poured a glass of boiling water, infused for about an hour. Then the infusion is mixed with warm water in a basin of 7-10 liters.

Traditional methods are a good aid, but many make a choice in favor of pharmaceutical preparations because of their ease of use.


The herpes virus 1 and type 2 are infected with 90% of the population of our planet; therefore, it is rather difficult to protect yourself from it. Firstly, the infection can be transmitted from the mother at birth, and secondly, the condom is not 100% protection against contact of the pathogen on the mucous membranes during intimate contact with an infected woman. Moreover, she herself may not know what is the carrier, since not all analyzes show the presence of herpes.

The only way to protect and contain the virus is the immune system, which does not need much to gain:

  • good nutrition: not trans fats and fast carbohydrates, but fatty acids of vegetable oils and fish, fiber, high-quality protein;
  • the rejection of bad habits or minimal addiction to those;
  • regular moderate physical activity, fresh air.
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