October 12, 2012

What is Genital Herpes Asymptomatic Shedding?

Posted in Category : Sexual Health

Asymptomatic shedding refers to the shedding of the herpes virus through the genital tracts of patients who do not have any obvious symptoms or are asymptotic. Asymptotic shedding is probably the one major factor in the spread of the herpes simplex virus, the virus that causes genital herpes, and the tremendous growth in the number of people infected with the virus.

Studies conducted by researchers have shown that over a period of time, people will shed the virus at some point or the other even when no obvious symptoms are present. Just how virulent the herpes simplex virus is can be gauged from the fact that those infected by the asymptotic shedding of the virus also passed on the infection to others, even in the initial stages of their infection. Many times, patients are unaware that they have been infected with the virus and continue to have unsafe sex, inadvertently spreading the virus. Even those who are aware that they have been infected at some point in the past make the mistake, sometimes through ignorance, of assuming that their infection has been cured just because their symptoms are no longer present.

Wearing condoms, forgoing multiple partners and having a long term monogamous relationship is the only way to lessen the risk of being infected with the herpes simplex virus. Even this is no guarantee of safety. People have been known to be infected despite having worn condoms and practiced safe sex methods. This is because condoms do not always completely cover the areas where the virus is present.

Safe sex practices are essential even for those who have been infected in the past to guard against infecting others. In fact, doctors routinely advice such people to abstain completely from sex whenever any symptoms are present. Sometimes during an initial outbreak the symptoms may include swollen lymph nodes in the groin and flu-like symptoms such as headache, muscle aches and fever. At other times they may include include rashes, reddish dots, sores and blisters. In women, these rashes or sores may appear in the vaginal area, buttocks, external genitals, cervix or anus. In men, they may appear on the scrotum, penis, buttocks, thighs, anus or the inside of the urethra. The HSV-1 virus also affects the region around the mouth. Infection occurs when a person’s skin comes into contact with any of the affected areas where the virus is present.