Considered a sexually transmitted disease, Herpes is caused by the herpes simplex 1 (HSV-1) or herpes simplex 2 (HSV-2). The oral variety of Herpes, or HSV-1, causes symptoms to appear near and around the mouth, while HSV-2 will present in the genital area. Regardless of which form of herpes is in question, the virus is highly contagious. Experts estimate that nearly 50 percent of the population has been exposed to the Herpes virus at some point before reaching adulthood.
This particular virus is spread via skin contact with an infected person. The contact does not necessarily have to be sexual. Skin to skin contact or oral contact can transmit the virus. Those who are already infected should refrain from touching any lesions they may have as they can further spread the infection. It should go without saying that sexual and skin-to-skin contact should be avoided when herpes simplex 1 symptoms begin to appear and until they finally disappear completely.
Condoms can be an effective way to prevent the spread of the virus providing that all herpes sores are covered by the condom. This tends to be a difficult situation as lesions are not restricted to these areas. In order to ensure that you do not spread the virus, the best option is to abstain from sexual contact during a herpes outbreak.
The symptoms of herpes simplex 1 will vary from one person to another and will depend greatly on the severity of the infection and its location. Early symptoms of oral herpes will often mimic the flu. Fever, depression, headache, irritability and inflamed lymph nodes are commonly experienced. If the outbreak persists further, the infected person will begin to develop sores that resemble blisters. These are often referred to as cold sores. These can appear on the skin near the mouth and nose. During the course of the outbreak, the sores will eventually burst and become open sores. Eventually, the sores heal and dry up. Typically, these outbreaks do not cause any scarring.
Herpes simplex 2, better known as genital herpes, is similar in nature to herpes simplex-1. The symptoms, however, instead appear near the anus or urethra of the infected person. This type of herpes is particularly easy to spread as the sores can sometimes present deep inside of the vaginal canal or the urethra, so they are not visible. Just as the oral version of herpes, these sores will eventually burst, heal and dry up.
Understanding The Difference Between HSV-1 And HSV-2