What is Herpes Simplex Virus?

Herpex Simplex Virus or HSV is of two types. HSV 1 and HSV 2.
HSV 1 is transmitted mainly by oral to oral contact and causes cold sores around the mouth . HSV 1 is endemic around the world and in vast majority of cases is acquired in childhood.
HSV 2 is transmitted almost exclusively by sexual route and is considered an STI. This may cause sores or blisters in the genital area.
In cases of oro-genital contact HSV 1 can also affect the genital area.
Most oral and genital herpes infections are asymptomatic that is, these do not show any symptoms.

What are the symptoms of Herpes?

Herpes symptoms are sores, blisters, tingling or burning sensation on the skin. The blisters may be painful in some cases.
However, most cases of herpes are asymptomatic.

How is HSV transmitted?

Any type of physical contact or skin to skin contact can transmit HSV
HSV 2 is most commonly transmitted through sexual contact.
Protected and unprotected contact both can transmit HSV
Since herpes blisters / sores have active virus, any contact with these secretions increase the risk of acquiring HSV

Can I transmit HSV to my partner or my family members?

HSV can be transmitted during symptoms or herpes outbreak
Transmission without symptoms can happen but is rare.

Is HSV life threatening?

No. HSV is not life threatening. In a healthy individual with no symptoms, HSV is harmless. It is just like any of the hundreds of viruses that are hidden in our bodies.
People without symptoms usually do not require any medication
People with herpes lead a very normal and healthy life.
In fact, HSV is considered more as an anguish than a disease.
HSV may cause complications in immune-compromised individuals only.

Can women with HSV have children?

Yes. Women with HSV can have children and in vast majority of cases do not pass hsv to the babies.
HSV tests are done before and during pregnancy to ensure the health of the baby. Measures need to be taken only if the mother has active disease or/and symptoms.

Will HSV become HIV after a few years?

No. Certainly not. HSV and HIV are 2 different viruses.
The risk of getting HIV increases if a person has active HSV infection. One reason for this is that the sores/blisters provide a portal of entry to the HIV.
HIV, otherwise cannot usually penetrate intact human skin

How common is HSV?

HSV 1 is pandemic throughout the world. About 70 percent of world population has HSV infection.
HSV 2 is less common with a prevalence rate of 13 percent.

Can Herpes / HSV be completely cured or eliminated from the body?

Herpes symptoms can be very well managed.
Many people just get one outbreak in their lifetimes and many do not get any outbreak at all.
Once infected the virus stays inside the body for lifetime
But most of the times the virus is dormant or sleeping without giving any symptoms

I have recently tested positive with HSV 1 IgG antibodies but have no symptoms. Should I worry?

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