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Meet the herpes virus family

Susan July 29, 2012 STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) Comments Off on Meet the herpes virus family
Meet the herpes virus family

Quick facts about herpes:

• One in four adults or thirty million Americans have the herpes virus.

• The vast majority (eighty to 90 percent) of people with genital herpes HAVE NOT been diagnosed.

• There is no cure for herpes and anyone who is sexually active is at risk for getting the herpes virus.

•In recent years, studies have shown that people with genital herpes are at two to three times greater risk for acquiring HIV.

Getting Tested – Should you?

Visiting a physician or STD clinic for an STD screening can be a difficult and overwhelming experience. HealthCheckUSA offers affordable blood tests to regularly screen for this and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Meet the herpes virus family

There are eight herpes viruses currently known to infect humans. The most common is herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1) which is generally associated with cold sores, fever blisters and occasionally genital herpes.

The other is herpes simplex virus type-2 (HSV-2), most commonly associated with genital herpes and occasionally oral infection. Herpes simplex viruses are contagious and are transmitted through vaginal and anal (and less frequently oral) sexual contact. Herpes is not a life-threatening disease, but it is a lifelong disease that is highly contagious—and symptoms can recur at any time.

The herpes virus lives in the nerves of lower spinal cord area called the sacral ganglia. It has a dormant and an active stage. When active, the virus travels to the surface of the initially infected area.

Recognizing Signs and Symptoms

Herpes symptoms can be difficult to recognize if you are unaware you have the virus. In fact, some patients do not experience any symptoms at all. Shedding (multiplying of the HSV virus) can occur in the absence of symptoms through genital secretions. One study found that 70 percent of people get herpes from a partner who is unaware they have active herpes at the time they transmit the disease.

When signs of genital herpes appear, they show up as blisters or lesions on or around the genitals and/or the rectum. The blisters will break, leaving a sore. The sore will be tender, hence the term, and will heal in approximately 2 to 4 weeks if it is the first outbreak. In subsequent outbreaks, they are generally less severe, and heal quicker. The sores can recur, and be painful. Once the virus begins shedding, the outbreak may occur at the same site as the initial infection or spread to neighboring areas. Lesions or sores may last for 7 to 10 days–and in people with a low immune system, symptoms can be magnified

Herpes and pregnancy

Pregnant women also need to know their HSV status so they can reduce the risk of passing the virus to their baby during delivery. Neonatal herpes is very serious and can lead to infant mortality. Women who have tested negative for HSV-2 and have had no symptoms should also know their partner’s status. Should pregnant women become infected near labor, there is increased risk of neonatal herpes. Often a physician will recommend a cesarean section to HSV-2 positive pregnant women to avoid passing the virus to the infant.

Source: Focus Technologies and


Herpes Simplex Virus tests are available at HealthCheckUSA, Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) 1 and 2-Specific Ab, IgG

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