Herpes is a generic word for a group of viral diseases that cause painful, fluid-filled sores or blisters in and around the mouth or genital area. Also known as herpes simplex, it is of two types:

Genital herpes is a prevalent sexually transmitted disease (STD) characterised by genital blisters and ulcers. Herpes simplex virus type 2 infection is the most common cause of genital herpes (HSV-2). According to the CDC, one out of every six persons aged 14 – 49 faces this condition.

Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), which is more commonly associated with oral herpes, can also cause genital herpes.

Oral herpes causes tiny cold sores and fever blisters in the mouth, lips, and gums. HSV-1 is the most common cause of oral herpes, however HSV-2 may also be to blame in rare situations.


It’s crucial to remember that an infection might exist even if there are no apparent symptoms. They might potentially spread the infection to others. Blistering sores (in the mouth or on the genitals), discomfort while urinating and itching are some of the symptoms linked with this virus.

Symptoms that are comparable to the flu may also occur. Fever, enlarged lymph nodes, headaches, exhaustion, and a loss of appetite are some of the symptoms. Herpes keratitis is a disease caused by HSV spreading to the eyes. Symptoms include eye discomfort, drainage, and a gritty sensation in the eyes.


Doctors can diagnose a herpes infection by examining at the skin and/or swabbing the sores for evidence if signs of HSV type 1 or 2 are present. A blood test can assist establish whether or not you have an infection if you don’t have any visible symptoms.

Viral culture: This test entails obtaining a tissue sample or scraping the lesions for analysis.

PCR test: Even if there are no symptoms, a PCR test can determine if someone has genital herpes. In a sample collected from fluids from the urinary system, the PCR test looks for fragments of the virus’s DNA. This is an extremely accurate and widely used test.

Cell culture: During the checkup, the doctor might collect a sample of cells from a sore and examine them under a microscope for HSV.

If the lesions have started to heal or have been infected recently, a cell culture or PCR test may produce a false-negative result.

Blood test: To diagnose a previous herpes infection, this test examines a sample of blood for the presence of antibodies.

Antibodies against a herpes virus are detected in type-specific herpes blood tests, which also determine if the antibodies are against HSV-1 or HSV-2. Type-specific testing is unable to pinpoint the exact location of the infection in the body. Antibodies to any kind of herpes are detected in general herpes blood tests, but they do not indicate for which type the antibodies are present for.

After being infected, it generally takes two weeks for symptoms to develop. If you do not have any lesions that can be tested, it’s a good idea to wait at least a month or two after a possible exposure before obtaining a test. This is due to the fact that the body takes time to produce antibodies that may be detected in the blood, without these antibodies a false-negative test may occur.


Prescription antiviral medicines may: Aid in the healing of sores following a first outbreak In repeated outbreaks, reduce the severity and duration of symptoms. Recurrence frequency is also reduced. It also reduces the risk of spreading the herpes virus to others.

Antiviral medications used for genital herpes include:

Acyclovir (Zovirax)

Valacyclovir (Valtrex)