genital herpes

genital herpes



Your Body and the Herpes virus

The skin ailment known as herpes simplex virus newly infects millions of people each year.  In fact, it is estimated that 1 in 5 people have suffered from a genital herpes infection.  Understanding the causes and symptoms of herpes, as well as herpes treatments and preventative strategies, is necessary in managing and stopping the spread of this viral sexually transmitted disease.  There is no herpes cure.


HSV-1 and HSV-2

Brought about when the herpes simplex virus (HSV) invades the body via skin-to-skin contact with an infected person, the virus travels through nerve pathways and permanently resides within the spinal ganglion.  The virus remains dormant there and during active phases travels back down the nerve pathways to the surface of the skin.  During these active phases the skin may become red, tingle, or develop into classic herpes ulcers.  Often during this active phase of the virus there are no symptoms however the virus is still actively shedding at the skin surface and transmittable.  This is known as asymptomatic shedding. 

·         Oral Herpes—This very common type of herpes caused by Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (HSV-1) occurs when nerve endings of the face are infected and fever blisters erupt around the mouth or ulcers develop within the mouth. HSV-1 resides near the top of the spine (trigminal ganglia).  Contracted by skin-to-skin contact, oral herpes can actually be spread to any part of the body and can cause genital herpes.

·         Genital Herpes —Most commonly caused by Herpes Simplex Virus 2 (HSV-2), it infects the pelvic spinal cord nerve endings (sacral ganglia) resulting in genital herpes, in which sores or lesions erupt in genital regions.  Like oral herpes, genital herpes is passed from person to person via skin-to-skin contact, and also can affect any part of the body.  Genital Herpes can be transmitted even when a condom is used due to the fact that the virus can be shedding from areas of the skin that are not covered by the condom.


Highly Contagious, but Preventable and Manageable

You need only make skin-to-skin contact with an infected person to contract herpes.  An infected person will shed viral particles during active phases, which often result in herpes telltale blisters or lesions.  However, when viral outflow is low, physical herpes symptoms such as sores are often absent, concealing the presence of the virus.  This occurrence, known as asymptomatic shedding, makes herpes prevention and detection complicated, but not impossible.  Paying vigilant attention to herpes symptoms, even slight ones, as well as taking certain common sense precautionary measures, can be of great assistance in managing herpes infections along with proper herpes treatment.


*None of this site's content or referral resources constitutes any form of medical advice or diagnosis.  All patients are encouraged to seek medical advice from their own physician.