What is Herpes simplex Virus?

    Herpes is a super-common infection that stays in your body for life. More than half of Americans have oral herpes, and about 1 out of 6 Americans has genital herpes. So chances are a few people you know are living with herpes. Anyone can be infected with HSV, regardless of age. Your risk is based almost entirely on exposure to the infection. In cases of sexually transmitted HSV, people are more at risk when they have sex not protected by condoms or other barrier methods.

 

 

 

    Herpes is caused by two different but similar viruses: herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Both kinds can make sores pop up on and around your vulva, vagina, cervix, anus, penis, scrotum, butt, inner thighs, lips, mouth, throat, and rarely, your eyes.

 

  • HSV-1: primarily causes oral herpes, and is generally responsible for cold sores and fever blisters around the mouth and on the face.
  • HSV-2: primarily causes genital herpes, and is generally responsible for genital herpes outbreaks.

 

     The herpes simplex virus is a contagious virus that can be transmitted from person to person through direct contact. Children will often contract HSV-1 from early contact with an infected adult. They then carry the virus with them for the rest of their lives.

HSV-1

HSV-1 can be contracted from general interactions such as:

 

  • eating from the same utensils
  • sharing lip balm
  • kissing

        The virus spreads more quickly when an infected person is experiencing an outbreak. An estimated 67 percent. Trusted Source of people ages 49 or younger are seropositive for HSV-1, though they may never experience an outbreak. It’s also possible to get genital herpes from HSV-1 if someone who performed oral sex had cold sores during that time.

HSV-2

         HSV-2 is contracted through forms of sexual contact with a person who has HSV-2. An estimated 20 percent of sexually active adults in the United States are infected with HSV-2, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). HSV-2 infections are spread through contact with a herpes sore. In contrast, most people get HSV-1 from an infected person who is asymptomatic, or does not have sores.

      Herpes is spread from skin-to-skin contact with infected areas, often during vaginal sex, oral sex, anal sex, and kissing. Herpes causes outbreaks of itchy, painful blisters or sores that come and go. Many people with herpes don’t notice the sores or mistake them for something else, so they might not know they’re infected. You can spread herpes even when you don’t have any sores or symptoms.

        There’s no cure for herpes, but medication can ease your symptoms and lower your chances of giving the virus to other people. And the good news is, outbreaks usually become less frequent over time, and even though herpes can sometimes be uncomfortable and painful, it’s not dangerous. People with herpes have relationships, have sex, and live perfectly healthy lives.

        Most people get herpes from someone who doesn’t have any sores. It may live in your body for years without causing any symptoms, so it’s really hard to know for sure when and how you got it. That’s why so many people have herpes — it’s a pretty sneaky infection.

Because the virus dies quickly outside the body, you can’t get herpes from hugging, holding hands, coughing, sneezing, or sitting on toilet seats.


         It’s important to understand that someone may not have visible sores or symptoms and still be infected by the virus. They may also transmit the virus to others.

       People who become infected with HSV will have the virus for the rest of their lives. Even if it does not manifest symptoms, the virus will continue to live in an infected person’s nerve cells.

      People may experience regular outbreaks. Others will only experience one outbreak after they have been infected and then the virus may become dormant. Even if a virus is dormant, certain stimuli can trigger an outbreak. 


Note: Treatment results may vary depending on the condition of each patient. Therefore, patients need to go to a specialized clinic for a direct consultation with a doctor. Do not take any medicine unless prescribed by a doctor.


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