Herpes Simplex Virus & Genital Herpes
Herpes is an infection that is caused by a herpes simplex virus (HSV). Oral herpes causes cold sores around the mouth or face. Genital herpes affects the genitals, buttocks, or anal area. Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). It involves the genitals, buttocks, or anal area. Other herpes infections can affect the eyes, skin, or other parts of the body. The virus can be dangerous in newborn babies or people with weak immune systems.
There are two types of HSV:
- HSV type 1 most commonly causes cold sores. It can also cause genital herpes.
- HSV type 2 is the usual cause of genital herpes, but it also can infect the mouth.
HSV spreads through direct contact. Some people have no symptoms. Others get sores near the area where the virus has entered the body. They turn into blisters, become itchy and painful, and then heal.
Most people have outbreaks several times a year. Over time, you get them less often. Medicines that help your body fight the virus can help lessen symptoms and decrease episodes.
Cold sores are caused by a contagious virus called herpes simplex virus (HSV). There are two types of HSV. Type 1 usually causes oral herpes, or cold sores. Type 1 herpes virus infects more than half of the U.S. population by reaching their 20s. Type 2 usually affects the genital area.
Some people have no symptoms from the infection. But others develop painful and unsightly cold sores. Cold sores usually occur outside the mouth, on or around the lips. When they are inside the mouth, they are generally on the gums or the roof of the mouth. They are not the same as canker sores, which are not contagious.
There is no cure for cold sores. They usually go away on their own in a few weeks. Antiviral medicines can help them heal faster. They can also help to prevent cold sores in people who often get them. Other medications can help with the pain and discomfort of the sores. These include ointments that numb the blisters, soften the crusts of the sores, or dry them out. Protecting your lips from the sun with sunblock lip balm can also help.
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a herpes simplex virus (HSV). It can cause sores on your genital or rectal area, buttocks, and thighs. You can get it from having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has it. The virus can spread even when sores are not present. Mothers can also infect their babies during childbirth.
Symptoms of herpes are called outbreaks. You usually get sores near the area where the virus has entered the body. The sores are blisters that break and become painful, and then heal. Sometimes people do not know they have herpes because they have no symptoms or very mild symptoms. The virus can be more severe in newborn babies or people with weak immune systems.
Repeat outbreaks are common, especially during the first year. Over time, you get them less often, and the symptoms become milder. The virus stays in your body for life.
Some tests can diagnose genital herpes. There is no cure. However, medicines can help lessen symptoms, decrease outbreaks, and lower the risk of passing the virus to others. Correct usage of latex condoms can reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of catching or spreading herpes. If your or your partner is allergic to latex, you can use polyurethane condoms. The most reliable way to avoid infection is not to have anal, vaginal, or oral sex.