Belonging to the list of sexually transmitted diseases, genital herpes sores are symptoms of an infection by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). As embarrassing as these sores are, they necessitate a re-thinking of sexual contact. In addition, men suffering from HSV have the obligation to keep their partners safe from contracting the infection, even if no outbreak is present.
There are two types of sores. Genital herpes sores may be the results of HSV 1 or HSV 2 infections. HSV 1 primarily causes cold sores but can also lead to isolated genital sores. HSV 2 is generally associated with genital herpes sores–even though it also causes some oral sores.
Location of sores varies. Genital herpes sores are not restricted to the penis itself. Instead, you may find them on the buttocks, occasionally on the thighs and also around the anus.
Transmission is always possible. Men who have been diagnosed with genital herpes sores must be cognizant of the fact that they can infect their sexual partners. If they suffer from an outbreak that does not generate visible sores, they still shed the virus. When sores are present, unprotected sexual intercourse is almost certain to infect a partner. Oral-genital copulation transmits HSV 1 to the genital area of the partner.
Infection is common. Scientific estimates suggest that genital herpes sores are quite common in women, with one in four being infected. For men, infection rates average one in eight.
Outbreaks vary in strength, duration and symptoms. Part and parcel of the ease with which the disease spreads is the lack of noticeable symptoms in some people. For example, some HSV 2 patients will never develop actual herpes sores in the genital area while others feature strong outbreaks complete with fever and pain. Still others only suffer mild outbreaks and mistake sores on the thighs for insect bites.
Unless you and your partner are tested for sexually transmitted diseases, consider everyone a potential risk and practice safe sex. If you know that you are a carrier of the virus, be open and honest with your partners and practice safe sex all the time.