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Herpes

A viral disease caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 1 & 2.  The herpes infection is categorized based on the site of infection. Herpes virus active cycle is between 2 – 21 days.


       ORAL HERPES

This is the most common form of herpes. Its caused by the HSV type 1. it has visible symptoms such as : cold sores & fever blisters around the mouth & face.

        GENITAL HERPES 

The second most on form of herpes. Its caused by HSV type 2 . has visible symptoms such as : blisters that break open and result in small ulcers. This ulcers heal within 2-4weeks of appearance.  It’s a sexually transmitted infection and has no cure.

      MODE OF  TRANSMISSION

Direct contact with body fluid such as 

  • Saliva
  • Semen
  • Vaginal fluid
  • Fluid from herpetic blisters.

Skin to skin contact during asymptomatic shedding.

Appearance of lesion occur in the following body part ;

          FOR MEN

  • glans penis
  • Inner thigh
  • Shaft of the penis
  • Buttocks /anus.

          FOR WOMEN 

  • Near the pubis
  • Parts of the vulva
  • Clitoris.

         HSV TYPE 1 

This is responsible for HSV infection of the following :

  • Orofacial herpes(face & mouth)
  • Herpetic  whitlow (hand)
  • Herpes keratitis (eyes)
  • Herpes encephalitis (brain).

        HSV TYPE 1 SYMPTOMS 

  • fever
  • Swollen gland
  • Swollen conjunctiva/eyelid
  • Small white itchy lesion on the surface of the cornea
  • Sore throat.                                                                                                 HSV TYPE 2

This is responsible for viral infection of the genital only.

          HSV TYPE 2 SYMPTOM

  • Odynophagia – painful swallowing
  • Dysphagia – difficulty swallowing.

          GENERAL SYMPTOMS 

  • Pain
  • Itching
  • Burning sensation
  • Discharge from penis/vagina
  • Muscle pain (myalgia)
  • Swollen lymph node
  • Malaise.

Additional symptoms women suffer are ; dysuria ( painful urination), cervicitis.

             LABORATORY  TESTS 

    Genital herpes is more difficult to diagnose ,since most of the infected persons have no classical symptoms. And also due to the fact that conditions such as ; atopic dermatitis, lichen planus ,makes the diagnosis confusing due to their shared similarities.

    The laboratory test carried out includes ;

    • Skin biopsy and polymerase chain reaction – To detect the presence of viral DNA. 
    • direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) – to detect virus. 

    These lab tests are highly sensitive, and thus require precision & specific diagnosis .

               PROTECTION 

    Use of condom ; A female condom is preferable since it covers the labia and provides greater protection than the male condom which leave out some body areas uncovered, and hence the appearance of herpes ulcer on those areas. Synthetic condoms are used, since the virus cannot pass through.

    Use of Dental dams ; This should be used to prevent transmission from the genital of one partner to the mouth of the other during oral sex. 

    NOTE;

    Herpetic proctitis – inflammation the anus/rectum . This is common for individuals participating in anal sex.

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