Anal herpes causes sores and blisters around the anus. After the blisters break out, scabs form on them. Some blisters form ulcerations after they discharge the fluid.
There are other infections too that can cause lesions around the anus. Chancroid and Syphilis are capable of such infections. The symptoms for each one of them differ, but all of them manifest lesions around the anus.
All of them including “Anal Herpes” come from sexual contact with an infected person.
Anal herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-II), the same virus that causes Genital Herpes.
Symptoms of anal herpes
Pain and itching around the anus
Flu-like symptoms including mild fever preceding eruptions
Appearance of red bumps or blisters containing transparent fluids around anus
Scabs form after blister rupture or bleed
Ulcers develop at the place of original blisters
Diagnosis of Anal Herpes
The manifestation of symptoms of Anal Herpes varies in different individuals. The main difference is in severity. In average cases, where there is eruption around the anus, a physical examination by a physician can ensure an infection. If there is a history of anal sex in such a case, it’s anal herpes.
As several different sexually transmitted infections can cause anal eruptions, it’s difficult to ascertain that it’s HSV type 2. So, to ensure the course of treatment the precise cause of infection is to be ascertained. That needs a blood test.
In such a case, the blood sample is to be tested for possible Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and few other STDs. For anal symptoms, there can be more than one STIs. So, some doctors will conduct additional tests to verify that the symptoms are not the result of another type of infection.
After there is a positive result your doctor can discuss treatment options.
Transmission of Anal Herpes
Herpes Simplex Virus type II is responsible for Anal Herpes. It’s the same virus that causes Genital Herpes. However, everyone with genital herpes has not anal herpes.
Anal herpes is contagious; as contagious as Genital herpes. It is passed from an infected person to another through sexual contact. Once infected, the person is capable of infecting others through sexual contact even when the virus isn’t causing any symptoms.
As per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 30 million Americans have HSV-II. Each year, an additional 776,000 Americans are diagnosed with a new case of the STI. These are modest numbers, the actual numbers are likely to be much more.
In the United States, one in four people has genital herpes.
Treatment of Anal Herpes
Once infected, the virus stays with the host for life. There is no possible cure for this virus so far.
The treatment concentrates on managing the painful symptoms during manifestations. The treatment ensures that the duration and intensity of the symptoms are considerably reduced so that the virus becomes manageable. Then it focuses on reducing the frequencies of relapses. When the virus is not active, passing the infection to a sexual partner is considerably reduced.
The therapy is primarily antiviral.
Once there is a positive diagnosis the antiviral medication starts. The pills reduce the intensity of the symptoms till the attack lasts. After the symptoms are gone, one has to still remain under medication for some time to subdue the virus. That reduces the chances of recurring outbreaks.
It’s a suppressive therapy, but that’s all is available as on date. If the outbreak of Anal Herpes is very severe, the treatment may include intravenous antiviral therapy. Here the medicine is injected into the bloodstream. This works faster.
If the antiviral treatment is taken immediately after an infection, the symptoms are not very painful. The blisters also disappear faster and the duration of the outbreak is considerably reduced. However, if neglected, the outbreak is very painful and takes quite some time to disappear completely.
Reduce Your Risk
As there is no cure for Anal herpes, it’s only wise to prevent an infection. One can lower the risk of an infection by practicing safe sex.
Following are few suggestions to keep you safe.
Wear a condom during every sexual encounter, whether vaginal, anal or oral sex.
Reduce your number of sexual partners. Don’t indulge with partners with unknown sexual status. If possible, practice monogamy.
Be in a relationship and be monogamous.
Get regular STI screenings. Regular std testing keeps you and your family safe.