Herpes Simplex Virus (oral and genital herpes)

What is it?

Herpes Viruses.

Herpes is a general term for two different diseases: one that affects the area around the mouth (oral herpes, also known as herpes labialis) and another that affects the area around the genitals (genital herpes). Viruses cause both diseases. The simplex-1 herpes virus (HSV-1, in English) causes oral herpes; Both HSV-1 2 and herpes simplex virus (HSV-2, English) causes genital herpes. While HSV-1 and HSV-2 are different viruses, they are very similar and are treated similarly.

Herpes can not be cured. Once someone is infected with one of the two viruses, it can not be eliminated from the human body.

Both HSV-1 2 as HSV-living nerve cells, usually under the skin. Neither virus is always active. They usually remain silent or inactive in these cells, sometimes for many years or for life. This is called "latency". For reasons that researchers are still unaware, the virus can become active and cause symptoms which include sores around the mouth or near the genitals. This is called "reactivation". These symptoms may come and go in what is known as hatching.

During an outbreak the virus becomes active and causes a chain of events leading to the formation of a group of small bumps. The bumps may rupture, heal, and then disappear for an indefinite period of time.

Anyone infected with either of the two viruses, regardless of their HIV status, can experience a outbreak of oral or genital herpes. Approximately 70% of all adults living in the United States are infected with one - or both - virus. The HSV-1 spreads by direct contact with the infected area, usually during an outbreak of the disease. Kiss and make oral-genital sex can spread HSV-1. More serious sexual activities including penile-vaginal or penile-anal intercourse is the most common route by which HSV-2 spreads. The two types of HSV can actively play without causing symptoms, this is known as "shelter" viral. A person with HSV can infect another person when they are sheltered even if she has no wound.

Any person infected with either virus can undergo two bursts. In people who have healthy immune systems, the outbreak of herpes usually lasts a few weeks. In people with compromised immune systems, including people with HIV and AIDS, herpes sores can last more than a month. Herpes outbreaks can be incredibly severe painful. In a very small number of cases, herpes can spread to other organs, including the eyes, throat, lungs and the brain.

To learn more about herpes

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