Sunday, May 26, 2024

What Is Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1

What Does Herpes Simplex Do To You What Will Herpes Do To My Body I Have Herpes Now What

Herpes Simplex Virus

Herpes will do nothing to your body or your overall health. Herpes simplex causes spots, which admittedly can be painful, and if they come often then they are very annoying I have herpes, now what? Well, if it were on your face, you would not be asking that question. You can make a big deal of it, there are websites that suggest you have to. However, the HVA experience is that people can get over it and move on to live happily ever after. Each issue of Sphere magazine tells a personal story from one of our members. You can read a sample magazine.

Episodic Therapy For Recurrences

For a recurrent episode, treatment takes 1 to 5 days, depending on the type of medication and dosage. You should begin the medication as soon as you notice any signs or symptoms of herpes, preferably during the prodrome stage that precedes the outbreak of lesions.

In order for episodic therapy to be effective, it must be taken no later than 1 day after a lesion appears. If taken during prodrome, episodic therapy may help prevent an outbreak from occurring or reduce its severity. If taken at the first sign of a lesion, it can help speed healing.

Complications Of Herpes Simplex Virus Type

The sores can become troublesome when they spread to the eye, which can lead to HSV keratitis an infection on the cornea. In severe cases it can lead to scarring of the cornea or blindness which is why HSV keratitis is a major cause of blindness around the world. Furthermore, it is dangerous for babies under six months of age because their immune system is not strong enough, causing the spreading of the virus to occur much easier.

Even after a cold sore or fever blister heals completely, the virus will live in the body for the rest of the infected persons life. However, the recurrence of cold sores is highly variable some may never get it again, while some have more than 12 outbreaks a year.

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Can The Virus Be Transmitted During Childbirth

According to

You may notice some tingling, burning, or itching at the site of the infection before small, painful blisters appear. There could be one blister or a small cluster. These blisters will eventually burst and crust over before they begin to heal.

The blisters that develop during a primary infection may take to fully heal. These blisters can still transmit the virus until theyve healed completely.

Sores often itch, and genital sores may cause pain during urination.

Is There A Difference Between Cold Sores And Genital Sores

Herpes Simplex Type 1 Virus Photograph by Mehau Kulyk

As mentioned earlier, while each variation of the virus may have a preference for a specific area, either form can make a home orally or genitally. Once either strain enters your body, it remains dormant there for life. Typically, HSV-1 settles in nerves on the base of the neck, while HSV-2 stays close to the base of the spine. HSV-1 statistically has a lower chance of recurrences than HSV-2, but HSV-2 symptoms have been shown to become less severe as time passes. Beyond these differences, the largest difference between these two is the stigma associated with genital herpes.

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How Is Herpes Simplex Diagnosed

In some cases, a doctor or clinician can diagnose HSV by examining the blisters. They might also ask about other symptoms, including flu-like symptoms and early signs, like tingling or burning.

Theyll likely request a culture to confirm the diagnosis. A culture involves swabbing fluid from the sore and sending it to a laboratory for testing.

If you believe youve been exposed to HSV but have no symptoms, a blood test can determine whether you have HSV antibodies. Just know that blood tests may not accurately detect HSV until 12 weeks after youve acquired the infection.

General STI screenings typically dont include testing for HSV, so youll want to ask your doctor or clinician about getting tested for HSV if you believe you could have the virus.

You can also test yourself for HSV antibodies with an at-home testing kit. Compare at-home herpes tests.

  • foscarnet or cidofovir for HSV infections that resist other medications

Antiviral medications can also help lower your chances of transmitting the virus during an episode or shedding it when you dont have symptoms.

Note: Theres no evidence to suggest taking antivirals will lower your chances of contracting the virus if you dont have HSV.

These medications generally come in the form of pills and creams. Your doctor or clinician may also recommend an injection of medication to treat severe symptoms.

How Do I Know If I Have Hsv

There is no way to determine which type of herpes simplex you have based on appearance alone. You can find out which type you have though serological testing or, if you have visible symptoms, by taking a culture of a skin sore. Many people show no symptoms at all and are considered asymptomatic carriers.

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What Happens If I Dont Receive Treatment

Genital herpes can cause painful genital sores and can be severe in people with suppressed immune systems.

If you touch your sores or fluids from the sores, you may transfer herpes to another body part like your eyes. Do not touch the sores or fluids to avoid spreading herpes to another part of your body. If you do touch the sores or fluids, quickly wash your hands thoroughly to help avoid spreading the infection.

If you are pregnant, there can be problems for you and your unborn fetus, or newborn baby. See Im pregnant. How could genital herpes affect my baby? for information about this.

How Painful Is Herpes Simplex

Herpes (oral & genital) – causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology

Some people experience very mild genital herpes symptoms or no symptoms at all. Frequently, people infected with the virus don’t even know they have it. However, when it causes symptoms, it can be described as extremely painful. This is especially true for the first outbreak, which is often the worst. Outbreaks are described as aches or pains in or around the genital area or burning, pain, or difficulty urinating. Some people experience discharge from the or .

Oral herpes lesions usually cause tingling and burning just prior to the breakout of the blisters. The blisters themselves can also be painful.

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Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes

Herpes type 1 infections are best managed by an interprofessional team that includes the primary provider, pediatrician, nurse practitioner, infectious disease specialist and the internist. The key to treatment is starting the antiviral within 24 hours of symptoms. It is important to understand that most infections spontaneously subside on their own and delayed treatment has no impact on duration or severity of symptoms. During the infection, the patient should be educated on washing hands and avoiding close contact with others.

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Risk For Genital Herpes

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , about 1 in 6 Americans ages 14 to 49 years have genital herpes. While HSV-2 remains the main cause of genital herpes, HSV-1 has significantly increased as a cause, most likely because of oral-genital sex. Except for people in monogamous relationships with uninfected partners, everyone who is sexually active is at risk for genital herpes.

Risk factors for genital herpes include:

  • History of an STD
  • First sexual intercourse at an early age
  • High number of sexual partners
  • Low socioeconomic status

Women are more susceptible to HSV-2 infection because herpes is more easily transmitted from men to women than from women to men. About 1 in 5 women, compared to 1 in 9 men, have genital herpes. African-American women are at particularly high risk.

People with compromised immune systems, such as those who have HIV, are at very high risk for genital herpes. These people are also at risk for more severe complications from herpes. Drugs that suppress the immune system, and organ transplantation, can also weaken the immune system and increase the risk for contracting genital herpes.

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What Is The Difference Between Herpes Simplex Type 1 And Type 2

There is only a small difference between herpes simplex type 1 and 2. They are genetically slightly different but cause similar symptoms. Either can be caught anywhere on the body.

  • Type 1 is more likely to reappear when it is caught on the face and is less likely to recur when it is caught on the genitals.
  • Type 2 is more likely to recur when it has been caught on the genitals. It almost never reappears when it has been caught on the face.

There is no difference in the visible symptoms caused by the two types, so it is only possible to establish which type you have caught through a laboratory test. Both viruses are called herpes simplex virus. On this page, we are referring to genital infection caused by type 1 and type 2 except where we specifically mention the different types.

Whats The Difference Between Genital Herpes And Oral Herpes

Herpes Simplex Type 1 Virus Photograph by Mehau Kulyk

Because there are 2 different kinds of herpes simplex viruses that can live on many body parts, lots of people are confused about what to call these infections. But its actually pretty simple:

  • When you get either HSV-1 or HSV-2 on or around your genitals , its called genital herpes.

  • When you get either HSV-1 or HSV-2 in or around your lips, mouth, and throat, its called oral herpes. Oral herpes sores are sometimes called cold sores or fever blisters.

HSV-1 usually causes oral herpes, and HSV-2 usually causes genital herpes each strain prefers to live on its favorite area. But its totally possible for both types of herpes simplex to infect either area. For example, you can get HSV-1 on your genitals if someone with a cold sore on their lips gives you oral sex. And you can get HSV-2 in your mouth if you give oral sex to someone with HSV-2 on their genitals.

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A Pregnant Woman Can Give Herpes To Their Unborn Baby

The estimated number of pregnant women infected with HSV-2 is 880,000. Most transmission to newborns occurs during vaginal delivery. If a woman had genital herpes before getting pregnant, their baby may be infected but the chance is very low — less than 1%. However, the risk of infecting the baby is much higher when a woman is newly infected late in pregnancy.

If you are pregnant and think you may be infected, tell your doctor right away. Women with genital herpes are examined carefully for any symptoms before giving birth. If sores or signs that an outbreak is coming are present at the time of delivery, the baby may be delivered by cesarean section .

How Does Genital Herpes Affect A Pregnant Woman And Her Baby

Neonatal herpes is one of the most serious complications of genital herpes.5,16 Healthcare providers should ask all pregnant women if they have a history of genital herpes.11 Herpes infection can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy or childbirth, or babies may be infected shortly after birth, resulting in a potentially fatal neonatal herpes infection. 17 Infants born to women who acquire genital herpes close to the time of delivery and are shedding virus at delivery are at a much higher risk for developing neonatal herpes, compared with women who have recurrent genital herpes . 16,18-20 Thus, it is important that women avoid contracting herpes during pregnancy. Women should be counseled to abstain from intercourse during the third trimester with partners known to have or suspected of having genital herpes. 5,11

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When To Call The Doctor

Even though HSV sores can hurt and be unsightly, most cases of herpes do not cause serious illness. The sores go away in a few days. Contact the health provider if:

  • Sores are present and you think it might be a first herpes infection. The diagnosis is usually made by examining the sores. If the sores have not healed, sometimes a laboratory test is done.
  • Sores do not heal by themselves or show signs of infection such as pus, spreading redness or fever.
  • Sores are near the eyes.
  • You have another health condition with a weakened immune system.

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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Herpes Simplex

Types of Herpes

Preventing HSV-1

You can reduce your risk of contracting HSV-1 by avoiding physical contact with someone who has a cold sore. People can still spread HSV-1 when cold sores arent present, but its less likely.

If someone has an active HSV-1 infection, avoid:

  • Sharing utensils, cups, lip balms or other personal care products.
  • Touching the skin near their mouth.

Preventing HSV-2

If youre sexually active, you can take these steps to protect yourself and others from the herpes virus and other STIs:

  • Be monogamous with one sexual partner or limit your number of partners.
  • Get tested for STIs and complete any prescribed treatment.
  • Tell your sexual partners if you have genital herpes so they can get tested.
  • Use condoms during intercourse and dental dams during oral sex.

Wash your hands often if you have an outbreak or are around someone with symptoms.

If your sexual partner has genital herpes, these actions can lower your risk of getting the virus:

  • Dont have sex when your partner has active symptoms. Condoms may not cover all sores, so you may still get the virus.
  • Make sure your partner takes antiviral medication as prescribed.
  • Wait to have sex until scabs fall off active lesions.

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What Else Do I Need To Know Before I Appear For An Hsv Igg Test

The following points can be noted in order to develop a clearer idea about the test and the results. The IgG test does not identify the virus in the blood and false-positive results may happen. You might be infected by a virus that generates similar antibodies that may react with the herpes test. Before the test, the doctor should be informed about any other viral infections in the recent past or specific medications that you might be consuming because of that. The virus can infect the eyes, resulting in a condition called herpes simplex keratitis. Without the right treatment, this may cause significant loss of vision with time. In infection of the virus in the brain is termed as herpes encephalitis and can lead to a serious condition involving seizures and mental confusion. In such cases, a sample of the cerebrospinal fluid will have to be collected for further testing. Once the infection is detected, the doctor can suggest steps to prevent the recurrence of the disease and also to prevent the chances of spreading it to another person. It has been noted that herpes can make patients more susceptible to HIV infections and statistics indicate that up to 90% of HIV-infected individuals are co-infected with the HSV-2 virus.

Ruling Out Conditions That Resemble Oral Herpes

Canker Sores

Simple canker sores are often confused with the cold sores of HSV-1. Canker sores frequently crop up singly or in groups on the inside of the mouth, or on or underneath the tongue. Their cause is unknown, and they are common in perfectly healthy people. They are usually white or grayish crater-like ulcers with a sharp edge and a red rim. They usually heal within 2 weeks without treatment.

This aphthous ulcer is located in front of and just below the bottom teeth.


Oral candidiasis is a yeast infection that causes a whitish overgrowth in the mouth. It is most common in infants, but can appear in people of all ages, particularly people taking antibiotics or those with impaired immune systems.

Other conditions that may be confused with oral herpes include herpangina , sore throat caused by strep or other bacteria, and infectious mononucleosis.

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How Can I Protect Myself From Herpes

To prevent getting genital herpes:

  • Do not have sex with someone who has an open sore on their sex organs.
  • Always use a condom during sex.
  • Limit your number of sex partners.

Taking antiviral medications can reduce the risk of a person with genital herpes from spreading the disease, but that doesnt eliminate the risk. Be sure to practice the measures listed above to decrease risk.

How To Know Which Type You Have

Herpes Simplex Type 1 Virus Photograph by Mehau Kulyk

Its not always easy to tell. The ideal way to know that its herpes and which type it is is to test at the time are active with PCR testing, says Dr. Handsfield. PCR, or polymerase chain reaction, testing is done on cells or fluid from herpes sores and requires a prompt visit to the doctor because tests will remain positive only for a couple of days, he adds.

Blood tests can be less reliable, but they may be helpful if PCR testing is negative or if a person doesnt have an active outbreak at the time of testing, Dr. Handsfield adds.

Its important to know which type of genital herpes you have because the risk of transmission is usually much higher with herpes simplex virus 2.

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What Are The Different Types Of Herpes

The herpes simplex viruses that cause cold sores and genital herpes are part of a larger family of viruses, known as herpesviridae. According to the NIH, there are eight known members in this family that commonly infect humans, and close to 100 percent of the adult population is infected with at least one. The five types that cause the most concern are:

1.Herpes simplex virus type 1 HSV-1 is also known as herpes labialis, cold sores, or oral herpes. It is mainly spread through oral-to-oral contract, but in recent years, the NIH notes that there has been a documented rise in the frequency of genital herpes caused by HSV-1. This is likely because of an increase in oral sex, leading to more oral-to-genital contract. Those with HSV-1 who engage in unprotected oral sex with a partner are at risk for spreading the virus.

2.Herpes simplex virus type 2 This type is associated with outbreaks of blisters on the mucosal membrane of the genitals in rare occurrences, HSV-2 has been documented to cause blisters in and around the mouth.

3.Epstein-Barr virus Many people become infected with this virus in childhood, and it is most commonly spread through bodily fluids. This strain is responsible for causing infectious mononucleosis .

4.Cytomegalovirus CMV is a common infection that typically shows no symptoms. It is so common that by age 40, nearly 50 to 80 percent of American adults have a CMV infection.

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