August 10, 2022


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The name is from Greek : ἕρπης herpēs which means “creeping” or “latent”. (Wikipedia 2017)

All types of herpes viruses belongs to the family Herpesviridae of double stranded DNA viruses. It includes cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr Virus and causative agent of chicken pox, herpes simplex, roseola infantum etc.(Merriam Webster Dictionary)

The herpes simplex virus, also known as HSV, is an infection that causes herpes. Herpes can appear in various parts of the body, most commonly on the genitals or mouth. There are two types of the herpes simplex virus(Brindles 2017), both are ubiquitous and contagious ( Wikipedia).
HSV-1: Also known as oral herpes (Herpes labialis), this type can cause cold sores and fever blisters around the mouth and on the face.(Wikipedia)

Infection with HSV-1 can happen from general interactions such as:eating from the same utensils,sharing lip balm,kissing, ulcer, fever, swollen lymph nodes.

The virus spreads more quickly when an infected person is experiencing an outbreak. Anywhere from 30-95% of adults are seropositive for HSV-1, though they may never experience an outbreak. It’s also possible to get genital herpes from HSV-1 if someone who performed oral sex had cold sores during that time.

HSV-2: This type is generally responsible for genital herpes outbreaks.

The herpes simplex virus is a contagious virus that can be passed from person to person through direct contact. Children will often contract HSV-1 from early contact with an infected adult, they then carry the virus with them for the rest of their lives, If a pregnant woman is having an outbreak of genital herpes at the time of childbirth, it can expose the baby to both types of HSV, and may put them at risk for serious complications. It is important to understand that someone may not have visible sores or symptoms and still be infected by the virus they may transmit the virus to others.(Wikipedia).

HSV-2 is contracted through forms of sexual contact with a person who has HSV-2. It is estimated that around 20% of sexually active adults in the United States are infected with HSV-2, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) .
While HSV-2 infections are spread through contact with a herpes sore, the AAD reports that most people get HSV-1 from an infected person who is asymptomatic. Anyone can be infected with HSV, regardless of age, risk is based almost entirely on exposure to the infection.(Sarah 2017).

In cases of sexually transmitted HSV, people are more at risk when they participate in risky sexual behavior without the use of protection, such as condoms.

Other risk factors for HSV-2 include:having multiple sex partners,having sex at a younger age,being female,having another sexually transmitted infection(STI),having a weakened immune system.


Blisters and ulceration on external genitalia, in the vagina, or on the cervix, vaginal discharge, pain and itching, tender, enlarged lymph nodes, pain when urinating, high temperature(fever), malaise (feeling unwell), cold sores around the mouth, red blisters on the skin. (Christian Nordqvist 2017).

One may also experience symptoms that are similar to the flu, these symptoms can include:fever,swollen lymph nodes,headaches,tiredness,lack of appetite.

HSV can also spread to the eyes, causing a condition called herpes keratitis. This can cause symptoms such as eye pain , discharge, and a gritty feeling in the eye,this type of virus is generally diagnosed with a physical exam.


Worldwide rates of either HSV-1 or HSV-2 are between 60% and 95% in adults.Rates of both increase as people age.Rates of HSV-1 are between 70% and 80% in populations of low socioeconomic status and 40% to 60% in populations of improved socioeconomic status. An estimated 536 million people worldwide (16% of the population) were infected with HSV-2 as of 2003 with greater rates among women and those in the developing world. Most people with HSV-2 do not realize that they are infected.(Wikipedia).


Doctor may check your body for sores and ask you about some of your symptoms, HSV may be tested, this is known as a herpes culture. It will confirm the diagnosis if you have sores on your genitals. Blood tests looking for antibodies to HSV-1 and HSV-2 can also help diagnose these infections, this is especially helpful when there are no sores present.

There is currently no cure for this virus,treatment focuses on getting rid of sores and limiting outbreaks,sores may disappear without treatment.

These medications can help infected individuals reduce risk of spreading the virus to others. The medications also help to lower the intensity and frequency of outbreaks. These medications may come in oral (pill) form, or may be applied as a cream. For severe outbreaks, these medications may also be administered by injection.

However, your doctor may determine you need one or more of the following medications: Aciclovir, valaciclovir , paracetamol (acetaminophen), topical lidocaine(Sarah 2017).

HSV infection lasts for a lifetime, even if it does not manifest symptoms, the virus will continue to live in an infected person’s nerve cells. Some people may experience regular outbreaks, others only experience one outbreak after they have been infected and then the virus may become dormant. Even if a virus is dormant, certain stimuli can trigger an outbreak. These include: stress,menstrual periods,fever or illness,sun exposure or sunburn.

It is believed that outbreaks may become less intense over time because the body starts creating antibodies. If a generally healthy individual is infected with the virus, there are usually no complications. Although there is no cure for herpes, you can take measures to avoid becoming infected, or to prevent spreading HSV to another person.

Avoid direct physical contact with other people.

Don’t share any items that can pass the virus around, such as cups, towels, silverware, clothing, makeup, or lip balm.

Don’t participate in oral sex, kissing, or any other type of sexual activity during an outbreak.

Wash your hands thoroughly and apply medication with cotton swabs to reduce contact with sores.

Individuals with HSV-2 should avoid any type of sexual activity with other people during an outbreak. If the individual is not experiencing symptoms but has been diagnosed with the virus, a condom should be used during intercourse. But even when using a condom, the virus can still be passed to a partner from uncovered skin. Women who are pregnant and infected may have to take medicine to prevent the virus from infecting their unborn babies(Sarah 2017).


1. Herpes simplex – Wikipedia. Last edited on 13 December 2017. Retrieved from

2. Sarah Taylor, MD on April 6, 2017,written by Elly Dock. Retrieved from

3. Herpes : Symptoms, cause and treatment – Medical News Today By Christian Nordqvist I Reviewed by Xixi Luo, MD November 13, 2017.

4. Genital Herpes : Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis – Healthline.  Suzanne Falck written by Brindles Lee, November 27, 2017.

5. Merriam Webster Dictionary.

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