Genital Herpes (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
The goal of treatment for genital herpes is to provide relief from the discomfort of herpes sores and to reduce the time it takes for an outbreak to heal.
Treatment works best if it is started as soon as possible after an outbreak begins. This is especially true for outbreaks that come back again and again (recurrent outbreaks).
Most people find some relief and recover more quickly from the first (primary) outbreak of genital herpes by taking antiviral medicines.
Antiviral medicine may reduce the time it takes a first outbreak to heal. The medicine also decreases the number of days you can spread the virus (are contagious).
Taking antiviral medicine for the primary genital herpes outbreak does not prevent genital herpes outbreaks from recurring.
The decision to take antiviral medicines for recurrent outbreaks of genital herpes depends on how long the outbreaks last, how severe they are, and how often they return. People who do not have frequent or severe outbreaks may not want to take medicine on a regular basis.
Antiviral medicines reduce the time it takes for genital herpes sores to heal and helps prevent some outbreaks. Antiviral medicines have the added benefit of reducing the possibility that people can transmit HSV to their sex partner(s).
People can take antiviral medicine for recurrent outbreaks of genital herpes in one of these ways:
A study has shown that an HSV-infected person in a heterosexual, single-partner (monogamous) relationship who takes valacyclovir daily to prevent recurrent outbreaks reduces by about half the risk of infecting his or her partner.2 Other antiviral medicines may also reduce transmission, but further study is needed.
Home treatment, such as taking warm sitz baths and wearing cotton underwear, can promote healing of herpes sores. For more information, see the Home Treatment section of this topic.
You can reduce the risk of transmitting HSV to your sex partner(s) by taking steps to prevent the spread of genital herpes. These include avoiding any sexual contact if you or your partner have symptoms or are being treated for genital herpes. Using condoms during outbreaks also reduces the risk of giving HSV to your partner. For more information, see the Prevention section of this topic.
Treatment during pregnancy
If a genital herpes blister or sore is present at the time of labor and delivery, a cesarean section is usually done. A cesarean section may be recommended if a woman has tingling or pain (prodromal symptoms), suggesting an impending outbreak.
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