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About Genital herpes

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Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), which can reactivate many times in a year. Genital herpes is most commonly spread via sexual contact. Symptoms of genital herpes include pain, itching, and lesions (abnormal skin tissue) in the genital region, or you may not show any symptoms at all. The virus will usually produce sores at the initial point of entry. By touching the sore and then rubbing or scratching another part of your body, including your eyes, you can spread the virus to other parts of your body. If you have been infected by genital herpes, it is important to know that you may be contagious even if you show no symptoms.

For some people with genital herpes, symptoms may reappear for many years. For others, outbreaks become less frequent with time.

Common Symptoms of Genital Herpes

Genital herpes commonly appears on the genitals, the buttocks, and occasionally the mouth.

Symptoms of a genital herpes infection include:

  • Small sores or lesions on the affected area (usually small red bumps, or whitish blisters)
  • Pain or tenderness
  • Itching in the affected area
  • Immune system responses (such as fever/ flu symptoms or swollen lymph nodes)

In general, the sores that are most commonly associated with genital herpes will appear where the infection occurred. After the first outbreak of symptoms, you may not experience any signs of an infection for weeks or months. Most recurring episodes are milder and shorter-lived than the first outbreak. Prior to a recurrence, you may experience pain or discomfort in the affected area. These subsequent outbreaks will begin to go away after a few days with the help of antiviral medication, and pain management treatment options (such as ibuprofen).

Types of Genital Herpes

There are two herpes simplex virus types that can cause genital herpes. They are detailed below.

HSV-1: HSV-1 most commonly causes oral herpes (cold sores or lesions around the mouth). HSV-1 infections are generally milder - and recur less - than HSV-2 infections. Even though HSV-1 primarily affects the mouth, it can be spread to the genitals during oral sex.

HSV-2: An infection of the HSV-2 virus is the most common cause of genital herpes. HSV-2 is spread through skin-to-skin contact with an affected area. HSV-2 is highly contagious and can be transmitted even if the infected individual is not experiencing an active flare-up or open sores.

Genital Herpes Transmission

Genital herpes is spread through direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual. In most cases, the HSV-2 virus is spread through sexual contact. Because of this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends condom use during sexual activity to prevent direct skin-to-skin contact. However, the virus may be present in an area that is not protected by condom usage.

To further reduce your risk of spreading or contracting genital herpes, the CDC recommends that individuals limit the number of their sexual partners, and consistently engage in safe-sex practices. If your partner has an ongoing genital herpes infection, you may decrease your likelihood of picking up the sexually transmitted disease if they consistently take antiviral suppressive therapies and refrain from sexual activity during an active outbreak.

Common Medication
Treatment Options
Below is a list of common medications often prescribed to treat genital herpes, which a doctor or provider can prescribe for you.
Below is a list of treatment options available for genital herpes. During your appointment, talk to your doctor about the treatment plan that's right for you.
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Sesame FAQs

Frequently asked questions about genital herpes treatment on Sesame

Sesame offers convenient and affordable online doctor visits with licensed health providers across the country. If you are experiencing the signs and symptoms of genital herpes, book a visit right away to discuss your condition with a licensed health care provider. To diagnose genital herpes, doctors may use a blood test to detect HSV antibodies - an indication of a previous infection. These blood tests cannot tell you where - or from whom - you got infected, but they can definitively diagnose a current infection. Knowing this, you can begin working on a treatment plan to keep your sexual partners safe and reduce the severity of outbreaks.

Online doctor visits can be conducted in the comfort and privacy of your own home. During your visit, you will be asked about your symptoms and health history. If follow-up testing is required, Sesame will reach out to you about next steps.

To diagnose genital herpes, doctors may use a blood test to detect HSV antibodies - an indication of a previous infection. These blood tests cannot tell you where - or from whom - you got infected, but they can definitively diagnose a current infection. Knowing this, you can begin working on a treatment plan to keep your sexual partners safe and reduce the severity of outbreaks.

If your doctor determines that you have genital herpes, they will discuss a treatment plan with you. This may include prescription medication. If appropriate, your doctor can prescribe medication through Sesame. Depending on the medication, you can have your prescription delivered to your home or ready for same-day pickup at a pharmacy of your choice. Book a visit today to get started on treatment right away.

Genital herpes can be diagnosed by most primary care physicians through a physical examination and laboratory test. To diagnose genital herpes, doctors may use a blood test to detect HSV antibodies - an indication of a previous infection. These blood tests cannot tell you where - or from whom - you got infected, but they can definitively diagnose a current infection. Knowing this, you can begin working on a treatment plan to keep your sexual partners safe and reduce the severity of outbreaks.

STI screenings are tests that play a crucial role in detecting sexually transmitted infections and diseases (STIs & STDs). These are not necessarily a routine part of a comprehensive physical exam, so it is important that you ask your primary care provider or gynecologist about receiving testing. Early detection can prevent medical complications for both you and your partner.

It can be awkward to talk about your sex life, but it is important that you are upfront about any symptoms you may be experiencing, your health history, the number of sexual partners you have, and the type of sexual contact you have had recently. All of these details are factors that can help your provider offer accurate STD testing.

Common forms of STD testing include:

  • Urine tests
  • Cheek swabs/ discharge swabs
  • Fluid sampling from sores
  • Blood testing
  • Physical examination

The specific type of test you need will depend on your symptoms and your health history. If you are diagnosed with an STD, you should tell any sexual partners you have about the diagnosis so that they can be tested and treated - if needed.

There are different types of STI tests depending on your particular case and symptoms. This can be in the form of a blood test, urine test, or swab test, and can be performed at a doctor's office. Through telehealth platforms like Sesame, some doctors may even provide at-home tests. Depending on the test results, your doctor can help develop an STI treatment program that catered to your individual needs.

If you are experiencing any symptoms related to an STI, or suspect exposure, it is important to get tested. If left untreated, STIs such as gonorrhea can cause a host of issues, including infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and urethritis. Pregnant women should also note that gonorrhea can cause ectopic pregnancy or can even lead to a miscarriage.

It is also good to note that even if you have received an STD treatment before, you are still at risk for reinfection if you are exposed to a sexual partner that has gonorrhea.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following groups get tested annually:

  • Sexually active women under the age of 25
  • Women over the age of 25 with multiple sexual partners
  • Gay or bisexual men
  • Individuals with HIV
  • People who have been forced to have sexual activity against their will

Pregnant women should be tested early in the pregnancy because an STI infection can lead to low birth weight, premature labor, or result in a miscarriage. The CDC also recommends that teens and adults ages 13 to 64 get tested for HIV at least once.

Testing varies depending on the type of STI you have. Chlamydia and gonorrhea usually involve a urine or swab test, while other types of STIs including syphilis and genital herpes may require blood tests.

No matter the test, you can save up to 60% on treatment options and healthcare services by booking a visit with Sesame. Sesame offers cash-pay pricing, which means you know what you'll pay before you even step foot in a doctor's office. No hidden fees. No surprise bills. No nonsense.

In order to protect the sexual health of both individuals, sexual partners should get tested before they start having sex. Because STIs can live in a person for years without any symptoms, it's never a bad idea to get tested. Using protection - like condoms, for example - can also reduce the likelihood that you or your partner may contract an STI.

Yes! Sesame makes it easier than ever to get a new prescription or refill a prescription from the comfort of your own home! To discuss a new online prescription or refill, book a video visit with a doctor or nurse on Sesame to discuss a new online prescription or refill. Clinicians on Sesame can prescribe drugs that help treat conditions like genital herpes.

Note that providers on Sesame cannot prescribe controlled substances.

Book a video visit on based on the health care you need, and pick up a new prescription or existing prescription refill at a pharmacy of your choice. Browse services on Sesame, set up an appointment with a real doctor at your convenience, and get the care you need.

Booking an appointment with a doctor or nurse online is typically the fastest way to get a prescription! Sesame offers same-day online doctor prescription and prescription refill appointments with board-certified healthcare professionals. If deemed clinically necessary, Sesame providers can provide prescriptions and prescription refills for most non-controlled substances. They can also provide you with a doctor’s note if necessary.

Most online prescription and prescription refill appointments take around 15 minutes, and providers are able to send a prescription to a pharmacy of your choice right after your appointment.

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