Herpes is a viral infection caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus. There are two types of herpes simplex which are HSV-1 and HSV2. In HSV 1 symptoms occur around the mouth where in HSV 2 symptoms occur around the genital and anal area. While the above areas are those most commonly affected, herpes symptoms can be found anywhere in the body. The truth about Herpes Simplex is that it is a lifelong virus, and once you have it will never go away completely – symptoms will come and go and can be controlled and managed. In some cases symptoms are so minor that individuals are unaware they have herpes. An individual can be infected with HSV 1 or HSV 2 or both. Misconceptions exist regarding how this virus can be transmitted. It is wrongly assumed that people with this virus are promiscuous or live an unhealthy lifestyle.
Genital (includes Vaginal) herpes is very common and prevalent and occurs in the pubic hair region, penis and scrotum as well as the vagina, labia, urethra, cervix, and anal area. Unlike regular Herpes Simplex this form of herpes is always sexually transmitted and is caused by HSV-1 and HSV-2. Herpes can be hard to identify as one can be symptom free upon their first infection. Some symptom identifiers include: pain, soreness, itchiness, tingling and redness of the skin and in more extreme cases blisters and ulcers which may occur during herpes outbreaks. Different factors have been linked to the triggering of herpes outbreaks including stress, dietary choices, menstruation, illness, trauma and tiredness. When an individual has a weak immune system, herpes may have a more devastating effect and last longer in duration.
Herpes is transmitted through skin contact with an infected individual, or via infected secretions such as semen, vaginal secretions and saliva. Herpes is not transmitted through towels, glassware or toilet seats, and one cannot get it from being in swimming pool or hot tub unless sexually active with someone who has it in those areas. It is important to remember that herpes is a very common virus that can be combated via medication, knowledge and safe sex practices and should a person get it, it is not the end of the world!