For many of those who suffer from herpes simplex 1 or herpes simplex 2 (HSV-1, HSV-2), the thought of spreading the virus to someone else is constant and worrisome. Just how easy is it to spread to another person? This article examines that question. In order to understand how easy it is to infect someone with either type of herpes, it is important to understand how they both work in terms of transmission.
To begin, it should be understood that both types of virus can be spread easily to another when the contact site is the site of preference. HSV-1, also commonly known as oral herpes, will most easily spread if it comes in contact with the oral (mouth) area of a person. HSV-2, commonly known as genital herpes, will spread more readily when it comes into contact in the genital area. However, both types of viruses can be spread if contact is made to other parts of the body, but the incidence of infection is much lower when contact is made outside the preferred contact zone.
It should also be understood that both HSV-1 and HSV-2 are more contagious during times of active outbreaks. Please note that the spread of either virus can still occur during periods of non-active outbreaks, only it is done so at less frequency. For instance, one study showed that oral herpes can be spread via shedding in the saliva at around five percent of the time, even when the person shows no signs of symptoms. For those with HSV-2, during the first year, they can shed the virus from their genital area for a period of six to ten percent of the time when they show no active symptoms. This rate goes down, however, over time.
In terms of easy of transmission, it is generally thought that the spread of HSV-1 occurs more often and easier than the spread of HSV-2. The reason for this is that the spread of HSV-1 can occur with a simple friendly kiss. This is often considered the main avenue of infection when this type of herpes is seen in children. A relative who has the virus gives the child a kiss, which is entirely normal in our society, and the child picks up the virus. Those who have never had an infection of herpes (either type) will be more susceptible to infection as they have no immune defense against the viruses. It should be noted, though, that studies suggest that by the teen years, more than fifty percent of US teens have the HSV-1 antibody within their blood system. At age 50 and above, between 80 and 90 percent of Americans have the antibody within their blood system.
When we compare this to HSV-2 we see that infection is almost always after the childhood years. Infection for HSV-2 usually takes place during the years when people are sexually engaged in various activities. If a person had HSV-1 in the past, that person may be less prone to infection of HSV-2 simply because they already have the antibody in their blood. This is not always the case, however! Some sixty percent of those who had a prior HSV-1 infection will still get the HSV-2 infection if exposed to it.
In terms of ease of transmission, it must be noted that HSV-1 can easily spread to the genitalia via oral sex. The notion that one cannot get this type of herpes via sex is simply not true. In some countries, Great Britain and Japan for instance, genital HSV-1 runs at about the same rate of genital HSV-2 infections.
Some recent studies have suggested that it is much harder to transmit one type of the virus to a particular area (oral or genital) if that area already has an infection. In other words, while it is not impossible to acquire HSV-2 if HSV-1 is present in the genital area, it may be much harder for the new virus to take hold in that already infected area.
One issue that might surprise many people is what often (or often does not) happen when two people engage in oral sex and one of them has genital HSV-2. Studies suggest that if the non-infected person performs oral sex on the infected person he or she is not likely to get oral HSV-2 as one might expect. Note: this only applies to oral sex, not traditional sex. The vast majority (nearly 100 percent) of HSV-2 is genital in nature, not oral. The reason behind this is thought to be that most adults already have at least some HSV-1 antibodies which help to protect them from HSV-2 infections (transmitted via oral sex).
While this may all sound a bit confusing, it is important information to know. Take for instance this scenario: A person acquires the genital HSV-1 virus due to oral sex. Is it now possible for that same person to transmit the virus to his or her partner via genital sex? The answer is yes! This is an example of the virus taking hold in a non-preferred site as mentioned above.
One last thought on the ease of transmission of HSV-1 and HSV-2. Many people believe that HSV-1 will remain a prevalent problem in our society simply because of the way it is transmitted. Our society looks at the friendly kiss, and even the sexy kiss, as normal, everyday occurrences and virtually no one takes any action to prevent infection through a kiss. The same cannot be said about HSV-2 which many people consider the bad type of herpes as it most often involves some form of sexual activity. In reality, there isn’t much difference between the types of herpes other than how people get them and that can make some people very uncomfortable. Those who have HSV-2 are often stigmatized, and this may cause them to delay treatment or even cause them to not inform a sexual partner of their virus. This is often considered one of the main reasons the spread of HSV-2 is rising. People are simply not being honest with their partners.
Herpes Simplex Type 2, otherwise known as HSV-2 or Genital Herpes, most commonly causes sores, blisters, and other similar ailments around the rectum and genitals in both males and females. Herpes is a sexual transmitted disease that is viral in nature. If contracted, HSV-2 will cause the sores and blisters to appear on the victim within a week of infection. To date, herpes simplex type 2 is largely asymptomatic in many of the individuals who are infected with the virus. This is a large reason as to why this particular STD is so widespread.
Causes of Genital Herpes
HSV-2 is most commonly caused by sexual contact with someone who already has the virus. It is possible for the virus to be contracted or passed to your partner even when sores or blisters are not visible on the infected person. Although rare, it is possible to transfer herpes to your child during childbirth. Once infected, the herpes simplex type 2 virus will remain in the body for life.
Once infected, outbreaks can be caused by the following:
- Excessive Sexual Activity
- Other Illness
Symptoms of HSV 2
During an outbreak of herpes, the infected person will experience the formation of blisters on or around the genitals and rectum area. Males will experience these blisters on the tip and shaft of the penis, scrotum, inner thighs, buttocks, and anus. Females will see the blisters appear on the vaginal area, buttocks, or anus. These blisters will form both in clusters and in singular units. After a day or two, the blisters will rupture and leave behind a sore. The sores will be fully healed within 2 to 3 weeks.
Treatment of Herpes Simplex Type 2
As stated previously, the herpes virus is one that infects the body for life. This particular STD cannot be removed from the body. There are, however, several treatments that can be used to reduce the severity of outbreaks and speed up the healing period. Such treatments are available in oral, intravenous, and topical varieties. The most popular treatments are acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir.
Acyclovir is an antiviral treatment that reduces pain and the number of blisters and sores that are present during the initial outbreak. It is able to lower the frequency of outbreaks in the infected individual. It is available orally, topically, or intravenously.
The virus can be carried by a contact with already infected person, but it is not necessarily by sexual contact. Even any oral or skin contact can also transmit it. Patients should not touch their skin to avoid the infection from spreading and they must avoid sexual contact immediately when the symptoms of herpes simplex-1 appear. The best way to prevent the transmission of simplex-2 is to make use of condoms. This is little difficult because lesions in genital region is not limited just to the penis shaft that can be shielded with condom. Avoiding sex during the outbreak of herpes virus is the only most effective way to make sure that the disease is not passed to your sex partner.
Herpes simplex-1 symptoms differ from one person to another, as per the infection severity and locations. An oral herpes early serious symptom includes flu, headache, irritability, fever, and swelling in lymph nodes. If outbreak proceeds, then the infected individual will feel ill, cold sores or blister will come over the skin near mouth. Through symptoms cycle the blisters burst and form wet sores on person’s skin. As it will start healing it will dry up mainly without any scarring. Herpes simplex-2 symptoms appear around and in the genitals, anus and urethra of an infected individual. One main reason for easy transmission of Herpes simplex-2 is that the symptomatic sores are located deep in urethra or vagina that is not easily visible. Similar to oral herpes cycle, small groups or individual blisters will appear in genital region. This can feel and appear as a mid rash and can be really painful. The blisters burst and slowly heal in about 2 weeks of time.
There is no proper cure for this disease, but many treatments are available for helping infected people to fight with an outbreak symptoms. Prescribed medications can lower down the outbreaks time. Topical medication can be used to treat simplex-1 lesions. Anti fever and anti inflammatory medication can be useful in the symptoms of flu. Sores which are dry can heal quickly, simplex-2 lesions must be left dry and clean. Sufferers can use clean towel to dry up infected regions, do not wear tight fitting clothes since it will not speed up the healing of an outbreak.hsv 2
Nature has provided several herbs that help in the treatment of number of diseases. There are herbal ointments available for herpes. Herbal ointments have been helpful to reduce symptoms of herpes. Healthy lifestyle is also effective against the outbreaks of herpes. Powerful immune system is the best defense for herpes. So take help from your doctor and listen to him or her.