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Herpes: Everything You Need to Know about HSV-1 and HSV-2

Category: Healthy Living

Herpes: Everything You Need to Know about HSV-1 and HSV-2

What is Herpes?

The 2 most common types of the herpes simplex virus are herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). These can affect a range of different areas including the genitalia, the anal region, the inside of the mouth, and the skin.

Herpes is a chronic condition for which there is no cure. However, there are individuals who carry the virus who may never have symptoms.

HSV-1

HSV-1 infection is highly contagious, which is common and endemic worldwide. Most HSV-1 infections are acquired during childhood, and infection is always lifelong. HSV-1 can affect both oral and genital regions in men and women.

Key Stat: In 2012, an estimated 3.7 billion people under the age of 50, or 67% of the population, had HSV-1 infection. 

HSV-1 Symptoms

  • pain and itching
  • tender, enlarged lymph nodes
  • painful blisters (also known as cold sores) around or inside the mouth and/or genitals
  • HSV-1 outbreaks may be preceded by symptoms of tingling, burning, or itching at the site of infection and possibly a fever and feeling run-down”

*Please consult your doctor for proper diagnosis.                       

HSV-2

HSV-2 is the main cause of genital herpes, but it can also affect the mouth as well. Infection with HSV-2 is lifelong and not curable. Treatment can only help to reduce the severity and frequency of symptoms.

Key Stats

  • An estimated 417 million people worldwide were living with the infection in 2012. Prevalence of HSV-2 infection was estimated to be highest in Africa (31.5%), followed by the Americas (14.4%).
  • In the United States, 15.9% women and 8.2% men among 14 to 49 year olds have HSV-2 (2015-2016).

Symptoms of HSV-2

  • painful blisters that can affect the skin around the mouth, inside of the mouth, and the genitalia
  • pain when urinating
  • HSV-2 outbreaks may be preceded by tingling, burning, or itching at the site of infection and possibly a fever and feeling run-down”

*Please consult your doctor for proper diagnosis.

HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be transmitted from the oral to genital regions and vice-versa during sexual activity.

Treatment

There are medicines available to alleviate symptoms and shorten healing time for both HSV-1 and HSV-2. Some common treatments include Acyclovir (Xerses, Zovirax), Valacyclovir (Valtrex), Famciclovir (Famvir) Penciclovir (Denavir). Always consult with a licensed doctor to figure out what’s treatment is right for you.

Prevention

  • Wash your hands after touching any sore
  • Use condoms or latex barriers with every sexual encounter.
  • Avoid sexual activity when symptoms of an impending outbreak are noticed until the outbreak has resolved.

Now that you have seen that Herpes is far more common than people assume, you can also download this infographic and help us spread the word.

Read also: Can Bras Cause Breast Cancer? 7 Myths And Facts


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