|Genital Herpes Information
Genital herpes is a common infection generally transmitted through sexual contact.
It is caused by one of two members of the herpes virus family, which also includes the viruses causing chickenpox, shingles, and glandular fever.
Genital herpes is usually caused by infection with herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2).
Genital herpes can also be caused by HSV-1, the virus which more usually causes facial herpes, including cold sores on the lips.
Genital herpes, for most people, is an occasionally recurrent, sometimes painful condition for which effective treatment is now available. Generally, it is not life-threatening and has no long-term repercussions on one's general physical health.
Anyone who is sexually active is at risk of catching genital herpes, regardless of their gender, race or social class.
The Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) most often shows up as small blisters or sores on either the face, mouth (cold sores or fever blisters) or genitals.
There are two types of the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV):
HSV-1 or mouth herpes are commonly in the form
The usual symptoms of HSV-1 are cold sores in the area of the lips. The usual symptoms of Type 2 are sores in area of the genitals. Either may be spread by kissing or by sexual contact, including oral sex.
The cold sore/herpes virus has proven to be extremely successful at invading the human body. It can appear on almost anywhere such as in and about the mouth, eyes, esophageus (down pipe to our stomach), trachea (wind pipe), brain, genital areas and of course to any area of the skin.
Once infected by herpes, warning signs or symptoms (prodrome) will appear signalling the onset of an outbreak. The herpes virus can lay dormant for various time periods, and may be in your system for a time period before any symptoms begin to show. The usual incubation period of the virus (time before any symptoms show) is about a week to a month.
Prodrome is caused by the virus replicating in the skin. Within two to seven days, sores and fluid-filled blisters will usually appear. The entire first episode may take as long as a month for the sores to scab over and dry up.
A major reason for the epidemic proportions of herpes is that anywhere from 10-30% of herpes carriers are asymptomatic. They don't show signs of the disease and
sometimes do not even know they are infected. But they can spread herpes during
shedding periods, when the virus is on the surface of the skin, even though they will not have an outbreak.
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