15th Mar, 2016
- Herpes is a broad name for diseases caused by herpes viruses which commonly affect the skin (manifest as sores) and nervous system.
Today, we would be talking about two types of the herpes virus. Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2).
- HSV-1 is usually seen in the form of “cold sores” or “fever blister” on or around the mouth, face, nose or surrounding areas. It is estimated that over 65% of the population have this virus.
- HSV-2 is a more intense variant of the Human simplex virus. It is usually seen on or around the genitals, anus, buttocks and lower back.
- It is important to know that these two types can cause herpes in both body areas (face and genitals) depending on the type that caused the initial infection. Though commonly found in and around the mouth, HSV-1 causes 40% of genital herpes.
- The disease can be transmitted through the following:
- Having vaginal and anal sex with someone who has the disease.
- Touching/skin to skin contact and kissing infected areas.
- A person with a cold sore that puts his/her partner’s genitals in the mouth (oral sex) can cause the partner (receiver) to develop genital herpes.
- Kissing someone with a cold sore.
- As it is a skin infection, condoms might not cover infected areas of the skin. This is why infected people can still transmit the virus.
- Over 80% of infected individuals remain unaware of their infection because it might show no symptom(s) for a variable period of time (weeks to years).
- When symptoms show, it is called an Outbreak or Episode. There is the primary outbreak (first time) which may occur between 2–12 days after exposure and take about 2-4 weeks to heal.
- Some symptoms of the first outbreak can include:
- Burning or Itching sensation in the genital or anal area
- Fever and other flu-like symptoms.
- Pain in the genital area, buttocks or legs.
- Vaginal discharge
- Swollen glands
- A feeling of pressure in the region below the stomach
- Outbreaks could be caused by:
- Illnesses/immunosuppressive diseases.
- Vigorous sex.
- Monthly period.
- Herpes is commonly misdiagnosed as razor rash, pimples, insect bite, zipper burn, recurrent yeast infections, etc.
So how can you avoid contacting herpes? How can you get tested? Is it safe to still have sex even when diagnosed? Stay connected to the HiDoctor Blog for these answers and lots more.
Think you might have herpes? or need counseling? Visit our private chat room for a confidential counselling/consultation.
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- . Kimberlin DW, Rouse DJ, Clinical Practice. Genital Herpes. N Engl J Med, 2004. 350(19): 1970–1977.
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