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 the vast majority of cases is acquired in childhood.
HSV 2 is transmitted almost exclusively by the 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.
Herpes symptoms are sores, blisters, tingling, or burning sensations on the skin. The blisters may be painful in some cases.
However, most cases of herpes are asymptomatic.
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 an active virus, any contact with these secretions increases the risk of acquiring HSV
HSV can be transmitted during symptoms or a herpes outbreak
Transmission without symptoms can happen but is rare.
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 anguish than a disease.
HSV may cause complications in immune-compromised individuals only.
Yes. Women with HSV can have children and in the 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 an active disease or/and symptoms.
No. Certainly not. HSV and HIV are 2 different viruses.
The risk of getting HIV increases if a person has an active HSV infection. One reason for this is that the sores/blisters provide a portal of entry to HIV.
HIV, otherwise cannot usually penetrate intact human skin
HSV 1 is a pandemic throughout the world. About 70 percent of the world’s population has HSV infection.
HSV 2 is less common with a prevalence rate of 13 percent.
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 a lifetime
But most of the time the virus is dormant or sleeping without giving any symptoms