What is Genital Herpes?

October 29, 2009 by admin 

Genital herpes, a sexually transmitted disease (STD), is an infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). HSV is in the same family of viruses that causes chickenpox, shingles and mononucleosis. There are two types of HSV: HSV-1, which infects 80 percent of the U.S. population, usually appears on the lips in cold sores; HSV-2 is usually found in the genital area. However, if a person with HSV-1 oral herpes (cold sores) performs oral sex, it is possible for the partner to get HSV-1 genital herpes. And HSV-2 can infect the mouth through oral sex. RecurrencesGenital Herpes is different for each person. The signs and symptoms may recur for years. Some people experience numerous episodes each year. For many people, however, the outbreaks are less frequent as time passes. Various factors may trigger outbreaks, including:·    Stress·    Menstruation·    Immune system suppression, from medications such as steroids or chemotherapy, or due to infections, such as HIV/AIDS·    Illness·    Surgery·    Friction, such as that caused by vigorous sexual intercourse·    FatigueStatisticsBecause Genital Herpes is not a notifiable disease, there are no accurate statistics on its prevalence in South Australia. However, in recent years, approximately 2% of the clients with STDs diagnosed at Clinic 275 have had active episodes of the infection.Various studies in the USA and Australia have demonstrated the presence of HSV-2 antibodies in 20-60% of the populations tested.There are two types of the herpes simplex virus, type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2). Both types can affect the genitals and the face.·    Type 1 is more likely to cause herpes on the face, such as cold sores around the mouth, and·    Type 2 is more likely to cause herpes on the genitals, such as blisters on the penis or vulva (entrance to the vagina).How does the herpes simplex virus affect the body?HSV attacks the cells of the outer layer of skin and blisters will be formed. From the skin, HSV is transported through the bloodstream down to the nerve roots where the virus lies dormant.All About Genital Herpes: Common SymptomsThe classic symptom of Genital Herpes is a cluster of small fluid-filled blisters that break, forming painful sores that crust and heal. This process can take several days.But some people get only a rash or small bumps on the skin that appear to be pimples. Still others have different symptoms, such as painful urination, and some women have fluid discharge from the vagina.It is possible for a person to contract Genital Herpes if the partner with oral herpes performs oral sex. Oral herpes can be transmitted to the genitals, and vice versa. Symptoms are similar. Environmental surfaces like toilet seats may be a source of contagion, but there is no evidence that this poses a real threat to the general population. Experts differ as to how long the virus can survive on its own. The primary cause of infection remains intimate contact.


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