What is the Herpes Simplex Infection?
Herpes simplex is a virus that causes the highly contagious sexually transmitted infection, genital herpes. Herpes simplex has two different types that spread herpes on a body. The first type, called HSV-1 causes oral herpes. The symptoms of this type are most commonly cold sores. HSV-1 is not known to cause genital herpes.
The other type is HSV-2, which lives in nerves and, when active, it travels to the surface of the infected area and becomes contagious. It makes copies of itself that are easily spread to others in contact. This type of the herpes simplex virus causes genital herpes. Herpes is very common among the United States. About 20% of people over the age of twelve years old have HSV-2, although most do not know they have it. Approximately 50-80% of adults have HSV-1 also.
How It Is Spread
The herpes simplex infection is most commonly spread when there is an outbreak, whether it is in the form of a cold sore or sores on the genital area. HSV-1 is spread through kissing, mainly. HSV-1 can also be spread through genital to genital touching as well.
It is also known to be passed on through oral sex, when a person with HSV-1 performs oral sex on a person when having an outbreak the other person now has genital herpes. HSV-2 is spread through oral and vaginal sex. It can pass from one genital to another and also from one person's genitals to the other person's mouth and that causes oral herpes.
It is easy to spread the infection from one part of the body to another. Transmission can occur whether the person infected has symptoms or does not. The first outbreak occurs for most people within two weeks of the transmission of the disease. Many symptoms can be present at this time. For some people symptoms are either absent or very mild that they do not realize that they have the infection.
Do Condoms Protect me from the Herpes Infection?
Actually herpes is also spread when there is or is not an outbreak because people may think that condoms fully protect them from getting or spreading it. Condoms are always a good idea to use, but do not fully protect the entire area that could infect someone else with the herpes simplex infection. Condoms reduce the risk of contracting it but do not eliminate it.
Herpes Is Easily Spread
If people are not aware that they have the herpes simplex infection it is easily spread that way. However, the infection is still spread to others when aware of the infection because people may think they are protected when there is no outbreak. Herpes can be spread throughout your own body due to careless practices. If you or your partner carries the disease and you have had sexual intercourse or oral sex, it is possible to have the herpes spread. It is always a good idea to use protection and be mindful of outbreaks and that the instance can occur that it can be contracted at any time. Knowing about the infection can help decrease the spread of it as well.