Herpes is the name of a group of viruses that cause painful blisters and sores. One kind of herpes, herpes type 1, causes both cold sores around the mouth and genital herpes (herpes around the sexual organs). Herpes zoster, another kind of herpes, causes chickenpox and shingles.
Herpes type 1 is a chronic condition. Chronic, in medicine, means long-term. However, many people never have symptoms even though they are carrying the virus. Many people with HSV have recurring genital herpes. When a person is initially infected the recurrences, if they do occur, tend to happen more frequently. Over time the remission periods get longer.
What Is The Herpes Simplex Virus?
The herpes simplex virus is a highly contagious virus spread usually from sexual conduct from someone who has the condition to someone that does not. Many of those that have the condition do not know that they have it. For others, painful outbreaks and irritation make it painfully obvious they have the condition.
There are two types of herpes simplex virus:
· Herpes Simplex Type 1, HSV 1: HSV 1 is a lesser common form of the virus. This particular strain commonly causes cold sores on the face and near the mouth. However, it can cause genital herpes outbreaks as well, especially when there is mouth to genital contact.
· Herpes Simplex Type 2, HSV 2: HSV 2 is a more common type of the virus. This particular type causes genital herpes outbreaks that occur in the genital region and the rectum. This form of the virus spreads through contact with infected skin.
It is important to note that both types of herpes simplex virus spread by contact during an outbreak but can also spread through very small openings on the skin even when there is no outbreak occurring. This is what makes the condition so incredibly difficult to prevent the spread of. 45 million Americans over the age of 12 have the condition.