Genital Herpes Herpes
What is it?
Genital Herpes is a sexual transmitted disease (STD) which is very common common amongst sexually active individuals. Most times, there maybe no signs or symptoms. Now, even though there may not be any signs or symptoms, the affected persons can still spread this disease to their sexual partners. GENITAL HERPES: It is a sexually transmitted viral infection of the genital area. It was previously associated with only Herpes Simplex Virus type 2 (HSV2). However, given the sexual practices of these days (oral sex etc), it can also be caused by Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 (HSV1). ORAL HERPES (also known as HERPES LABIALIS or COLD SORES or FEVER BLISTERS): It is a very common viral infection of the mouth area. Mostly transmitted by mucosal contact with an infected person’s mouth secretions and not necessarily sexual contact. It is associated with Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 (HSV1). However, given the sexual practices of these days (oral sex etc), it can also cause sexually transmitted infection even in the genital area.
How many people get it in the US?
Oral and genital herpes are very common because of the easy way it is transmitted (oral, vaginal or anal sex, also mucosal contact). An estimated 90% of the adult population in the US will get oral herpes (HSV1) before the age of 50. This figure is from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In the United States, it is estimated that about one in six people between the ages of 14 to 49 have genital hippies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) puts this figure between 40-50 million people already infected. Also, there is an estimated 1 million new infections each year.
HSV viruses are latent. Most people have no signs or symptoms. Herpes Type 1: Typically causes cold sores and fever blisters on the mouth. Although, in some cases it can cause keratitis ( Herpes Type 2: typically causes genital sores or blisters. But both viruses can cause sores in either area. A herpes outbreak can start as red bumps and then turn into painful blisters or sores. During the first outbreak, it can also lead to flu-like symptoms, (like a fever, headaches, and swollen glands).
How it's spread
Through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. It can also be passed through skin-to-skin sexual contact, kissing, and rarely, from mother to child during childbirth.
There is no cure for herpes. The virus stays in the body and may cause recurrent outbreaks. Medications can help treat symptoms, reduce the frequency of outbreaks, and reduce the likelihood of spreading it to sex partners.
Possible consequences if left untreated
Increased risk for infection of other STDs, including HIV. Some people with herpes may get recurrent sores. Passing herpes from mother to newborn is rare, but an infant with herpes can become very ill.