Herpes Simplex Virus

What is Herpes / Herpes Simplex Virus?

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), usually HSV Type 2 but HSV Type 1 infections are also possible. There are two types of Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV): Type 1 and 2.

HSV Type 1, or Herpes Labialis, usually causes cold sores, or whitlows around the mouth and are mostly acquired during childhood. It is estimated that more than 50% of adults have had previous exposure to the virus.

HSV Type 2, or Herpes Genitalis, usually causes genital infections. However, HSV Type 1 can also appear on genitals through oral sex.

Genital herpes is spread by intimate sexual contact: genital to genital, mouth to genital, genital to anal and mouth to anal contact.

Incubation Period of Herpes / Herpes Simplex Virus

2 days to 2 weeks

Symptoms of Herpes / Herpes Simplex Virus

  • Groups / clusters of small blisters / vesicles around the genital area – penis, vulva, vagina, cervix, anal
  • Painful erosions and ulcers from the blisters
  • Swelling of groin lymph nodes

Testing for Herpes / Herpes Simplex Virus

  • Smear and culture swab tests
  • Blood tests for serology
  • PCR test

Follow Up for Herpes / Herpes Simplex Virus

As current treatments do not eradicate the infection, the infected person may be subject to recurrent attacks. Such recurrences can be managed with supportive therapy and antiviral treatment.

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