Daphne Joseph, a registered nurse with more than two decades experience dealing with AIDS and other STIs, discusses herpes.
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What is herpes? Daphne Joseph: Herpes is a viral infection and the way that herpes is manifest itself is usually with sores. Herpes is different from one of the other sexually transmitted disease, syphilis where you get one sore that's non-painful. Herpes is usually pretty painful when the sores develop. The first time you have your first infection, it's usually the most painful and it often takes about two weeks for the sores to subside, to go away. Once the sores are gone. The virus sort of retrieves into the nerve ending and it sort of latent, if you think of it at times it's just, it lays there and it wait in your nerve endings. And so you can have repeat episodes of - and most people do over the years, have repeat episodes of outbreaks. Not usually it's painful as the first episode but herpes doesn't go away. Once you have it, it's always there. There is no cure for it. They are antiretroviral medicines that physicians can give in order to make the outbreak less painful and hopefully to shorten the outbreak with the sores. But once you have herpes, you always have herpes. You always have to make sure you practice safe sex, condom should always be used, people should inform their partners so that they can make an educative decision about whether or not they want to engage in sexual behavior with you because, there is a small possibility with skin-to-skin contact that, that person can develop, even if the use the condom because of the area that lies out separate the condom is. If there is a sore in that area, or a bluster expose the other person to herpes. What are signs and symptoms of herpes? Daphne Joseph: Women most of the time, they will first feel like some burning or stinging in the genital area or the rectal area where ever it be on. The infection is stinging, burning, and maybe some pain with urination and then after that, it's when the sores start to develop and actually it will come out.