“Except for herpes. That sh*t will come back with you.”
Not only will herpes hitch a ride back with you from Sin City, but it will stick with you forever (forever, ever, forever, ever?). There’s still no cure for herpes (fingers crossed that the future doctors and scientists discover one asap). But for the meantime, the best thing to do is to prevent yourself from getting it.
Genital herpes is an STD caused by the herpes simplex viruses type 1 (HSV-1) or type 2 (HSV-2), but most cases are caused by HSV-2. Most people infected with HSV-1 or HSV-2 have no or only minimal signs or symptoms. Usually, one or more blisters form on or around the genitals or rectum. The blisters break and then POOF! tender ulcers (sores) are left, which can take 2-4 weeks to heal the first time they occur.
“Typically, another outbreak can appear weeks or months after the first, but it almost always is less severe and shorter than the first outbreak. Although the infection can stay in the body indefinitely, the number of outbreaks tends to decrease over a period of years” (CDC). The first outbreak usually occurs 2 days to 2 weeks after the infection (NIH). If you think you got infected or experience any symptoms, get checked out by your health provider asap.
For the most part, a person can only get HSV-2 during sexual contact with someone who has a genital HSV-2 infection. The infected partner may or may not have a visible sore. So choose wisely my friend. On the other end, HSV-1 generally causes infections of the mouth and lips, so-called “fever blisters.” Genital HSV-1 infection is caused by (you guessed it!) oral-genital or genital-genital contact with a person infected with HSV-1.
Complications with herpes can happen. Genital herpes can cause recurrent genital sores in many adults. For people with suppressed immune systems, a herpes infection can be severe. Also, it’s very important that pregnant women avoid contracting herpes because it puts the baby at risk of getting the virus as well. If a pregnant woman has genital herpes, a cesarean delivery is usually performed. Fortunately, the chance of a baby getting herpes from the infected mother is rare. In addition to the physical discomfort, herpes also causes psychological distress for those who know they’re infected.
Like I said earlier, there is no cure for genital herpes. However, there is medical treatment. “Antiviral medications can shorten and prevent outbreaks during the period of time the person takes the medication. In addition, daily suppressive therapy for symptomatic herpes can reduce transmission to partners” (CDC).
With all that said, one question remains: How can herpes be prevented? The answer: Don’t go to Vegas! I’m absolutely kidding. But could you imagine if that was the only way to avoid getting herpes?! I don’t even want to think about it. Fortunately, there are effective alternatives:
- Be in a long-term monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and is known to be uninfected
- Use latex condoms correctly and consistently (Note: genital herpes can also occur in both male and female genital areas that aren’t covered by a condom)
So, go to Vegas! If you have a lot of money, then stay at the Cosmopolitan. Wanna feel like money but are a little low on the funds? Then stay at PH Towers Westgate with 20 of your closest friends and split a penthouse suite. Grab a sandwich at Earl’s. Spend the day basking in the sun at the Marquee Dayclub. Then dance all night long at XS. Get your 3am steak and eggs fix. Gamble just a little so you can say that you did and maybe you’ll get lucky. Then stuff your face at the M buffet! Just don’t catch herpes!
By ALYSSA LLAMAS