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Genital Herpes/HSV PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 25 February 2010 16:26

Genital Herpes/HSV


Genital herpes is a contagious viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) which has affected an estimated one out of five (or 45 million) Americans. There are two types of HSV, and both can cause genital herpes. Genital HSV-2 infection is more common in women (approximately one out of four women) than in men (almost one out of five). Doctors estimate that as many as 500,000 new cases may occur each year.

 

HSV type 1 most commonly causes sores on the lips (known as fever blisters or cold sores), but it can cause genital infections through oral-genital or genital-genital contact. HSV type 2 most often causes genital sores, but it also can infect the mouth. Both HSV 1 and 2 can produce sores in and around the vaginal area, on the penis, around the anal opening, and on the buttocks or thighs. Occasionally, sores also appear on other parts of the body where broken skin has come into contact with HSV. The virus remains in certain nerve cells of the body for life, causing periodic symptoms in some people.



Genital herpes infection usually is acquired by sexual contact with someone who unknowingly is having an asymptomatic outbreak of herpes sores in the genital area. People with oral herpes can transmit the infection to the genital area of a partner during oral-genital sex. Herpes infections also can be transmitted by a person who is infected with HSV who has noticeable symptoms. The virus is spread only rarely, if at all, by contact with objects such as a toilet seat or hot tub.



There is no treatment that can cure herpes, but antiviral medications can shorten and prevent outbreaks during the period of time the person takes the medication.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 March 2010 05:52
 
 
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