30 Things You Need to Know About Herpes

1. Genital herpes is caused by two forms of the herpes simplex viruses: HSV-1 or HSV-2.
2. Most oral herpes is caused by HSV-1, and most genital herpes is caused by HSV-2.
3. Most people do not show signs or symptoms from HSV-1 or HSV-2 infection.
4. At least 45 million people ages 12 and older, or 20% of U. S. adolescents and adults, have had genital herpes.
5. Genital HSV-2 infection is more common in women (approximately one out of four women) than in men (almost one out of eight).
6. Both herpes Type 1 and 2 can be transmitted by contact with the sores that the herpes viruses cause, but also between outbreaks (sometimes called OBs) via “shedding” from skin that does not have a sore on it. 
7. Herpes transmission frequently occurs from an infected partner who does not have a visible sore, and may not even know that he or she is infected with the virus.
8. Genital OBs of HSV-1 recur less frequently than genital outbreaks caused by HSV-2.
9. First symptoms of genital herpes, they can be quite intense. Subsequent OBs are milder. Symptoms can include:
10. A small area of redness, sometimes with raised bumps or fluid-filled blisters;
11. Itching, burning or tingling in the genital area;
12. Flu-like symptoms (a headache, swollen glands, fever);
13. Painful urination and/or discharge.
14. Initial herpes outbreak usually occurs within two weeks after the virus is transmitted, and the sores usually heal within two to four weeks.
15. Sometimes, a person does not become aware of the infection until years after it is acquired.
16. Do not squeeze OB blisters because that may cause infection to spread.
17. Genital herpes infection can be more severe in people with immune systems depressed due to other causes.

  1. Genital herpes can cause psychological distress in people who know they are infected, due particularly to the attached social stigma.

    19. Any area in the groin can be affected by genital herpes.

    20. Herpes is not the only infection that causes genital sores. Bacterial infections have also been known to cause sores that resemble herpes sores. So, it’s best to get tested.
    21. Genital herpes can lead to potentially fatal infections in babies.
    22. Genital herpes can sometimes be diagnosed by visual inspection of the outbreak, or by taking an actual sample from a sore.
    23. The only sure way to avoid getting herpes and other STDs is abstinence, or a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with someone who is not infected.
    24. If you inform your partner of your herpes, you can discuss it instead of making excuses as to why you don’t want to have sex.
    25. Genital herpes caused by HSV-2 carries an 80-90% chance of OBs.
    26. Genital herpes caused by HSV-1 carries a 50% chance of OBs.
    27. OB sores can occur in areas that are not covered by a latex condom, so condoms are not fool-proof in protecting from contracting genital herpes.
    28. Even if a person does not have any symptoms he or she can still infect sex partners.
    29. You can’t get herpes from swimming pools, towels or toilet seats.
    30. Frequency and severity of herpes OBs vary between individuals.

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