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Herpes Information

What is herpes?

Herpes is a virus, which can be passed on through saliva or sexual activity. It is known as either Simplex I, which usually affects the area around the mouth and is transmitted through infected saliva, or Simplex II, which often affects the genitals and is spread by sexual contact. It can also be passed from a mother, who has the infection, to her baby during childbirth. Herpes symptoms are not constant. Sometimes they are dormant and sometimes they flare up. Herpes symptoms can be managed with anti-viral medication.

More about Herpes

Many people who have genital herpes are unaware of it, although in some cases, it can cause contagious genital sores. If you have a suppressed immune system the infection can be more severe. Symptoms can be quite harsh the first time they appear. This usually occurs around 2 weeks after the infection is acquired and heals within about 2 to 4 weeks. There are likely to be further outbreaks but the frequency of these will normally diminish as time passes.

Genital herpes is extremely dangerous to newborn babies and can be fatal. Herpes contracted during pregnancy increases the risk of transmission to the baby and doctors will normally perform a caesarean section.

Herpes Symptoms

Herpes can appear on the face, usually around the mouth, as a red blister that develops into a cold sore. Researchers have found that around 80% of people have been in contact with Simplex I, which normally affects the area around the lips. Simplex II normally develops in the genital region and anus, showing up as redness and watery blisters, which are often itchy and burn. About 25% of the population have antibodies for this. Sometimes a herpes episode will have either no visible symptom at all or minor symptoms, which may look like insect bites. Occasionally during the primary episode there may be sores accompanied by flu-like symptoms with heightened temperatures and swollen glands.

Treatment for Herpes

There is no treatment available that will cure herpes, but a range of antiviral drugs can be prescribed, which will stop or shorten episodes. There is also treatment available which will reduce the risk of the infection being passed to sexual partners. The most commonly prescribed medication is Aciclovir.


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