Herpes! The Silent Invader to your Sexual Health

What is Herpes?

Herpes simplex virus (HSV), known as herpes, is a common infection that can cause painful blisters or ulcers. It primarily spreads by skin-to-skin contact. It is treatable but not curable.


How do I know? 

Everyone’s heard of herpes – annoying, oozing sores around your mouth. You can get the same thing on (make it more inclusive) your dick or ass or vagina. It often hurts like hell, it’s very contagious and increases the risk of HIV transmission. In most cases, however, herpes is not a serious problem and most don’t have any symptoms. There are blood tests that can help in knowing whether you have the infection and what type of HSV infection it is which will help in management of the infection. 


How do we get infected? And how do I protect myself?

Herpes viruses are mostly transmitted via the highly infectious fluid in the sores, mucosal surfaces, genital secretions, or oral secretions. Transmission is also possible through kissing but not through coughing, sneezing or casual contact. Small injuries to the mucous membranes of the genitals, intestines, mouth or eye, as well as small injuries to the skin can be gateways for the virus. If you have an acute infection, you should avoid any direct contact if you want to prevent transmission. Condom can only be partially effective in preventing the infection. 


How is it treated?

Herpes is not curable but it is a manageable infection. Treatment of herpes infection with antivirals is advised to reduce the severity of symptoms, reduce the duration of the symptoms, or prevent recurrence of lesions. This suppressive therapy can also help in reducing the risk of transmission of infection to the sexual partners.


Check out more content on STIs like Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Hepatitis A/B, Hepatitis C, HPV, Genital Warts, Crabs, Scabies, Fungi.

Do You Have Any Question? #AskQueerLips


Do you want to understand the basics of STIs? Click here.

Learn how to protect yourself from an STI. Click here.


About the Author: Raju Behara (she/they), a trans-disabled Peer Support Provider with a decade of healthcare experience, holds a Masters in Pharmacology and a PG Diploma in Health Economics, Health Policy at the Indian Institute of Public Health. Aligned with the Safe Access Community Wellbeing Project, Raju has contributed to LGBTQIA+ safety in Indian workplaces, drafting gender-neutral dress codes and working on sensitization. A published author and poet in various anthologies, Raju, through EQUAL fellowship, chronicled social histories of housing, healthcare and workplace discrimination for queer-trans individuals in India. They initiated ‘Queer & Quarantine’, a crisis intervention program for trans folks facing housing challenges.

Article Vetted by: Dr. Swathi SB


Note: We do not endorse or guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information provided. Consult your healthcare provider before making any healthcare decisions or changes to your treatment based on information obtained from this platform. In case of a medical emergency or urgent situation, please seek immediate medical attention or contact your local emergency services.