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Herpes Overview

Aug 19, 2008
Genital herpes is an STD caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), which is in the same family of viruses responsible for chickenpox, shingles and mononucleosis (commonly called "mono" or "the kissing disease"). HSV can occur in two forms: HSV-1, which infects 80 percent of the U.S. population, usually appears on the lips in cold sores; HSV-2 is usually found in the genital area. However, if a person with HSV-1 (cold sores) performs oral sex, their partner may contract HSV-1 in the genitals. Likewise, participating in oral sex can spread genital herpes to the mouth in some rare cases.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) more than 1 out of 5 teens and adults are infected with genital herpes. It's more commonly found in African Americans than in Caucasian Americans, and more common in women than in men.

Genital herpes occurrences are different for each infected person. Outbreaks can be experienced for years. Some people have frequent outbreaks each year, while others experience only a few. Some factors that have been attributed to causing outbreaks are:

* Stress

* Menstruation

* Immune system suppression, caused by medications like steroids or chemotherapy, or infections like HIV

* Sickness

* Surgical procedure or organ transplant

* Friction, often caused by vigorous sexual intercourse or exercise

* Tiredness

Genital herpes outbreaks (http://herpes-virus.org/treatments.htm)often appear in the same area each time. Symptoms, however, may not always appear in exactly the same place. It is not uncommon for a lesion to appear on the genitals in one recurrence and near the anus in another instance. In some instances, the outbreak can be active and transmittable even without the presence of lesions.

It is common for people who contract genital herpes to experience mild to no symptoms at all. Therefore, they are unaware of infection. If symptoms do occur, the initial outbreak arises in the appearance of extremely painful skin lesions.

In women sores may emerge in and around the vaginal area and within the cervix. In men, sores may appear on the penis and scrotum. If the area under the foreskin is affected, scabs may not develop, the sore will heal slowly without scarring. Both males and females may also get lesions in other areas of the body including, but not limited to: the urinary tract, around the anal opening, buttocks or thighs. Once blisters have ruptured, small sores appear. And if these sores are irritated by water or urine, they may be painful. Ultimately, these sores form a crusty overlay and scab over.

About 80% of people with genital herpes are undiagnosed which means that the virus is passed on to other partners. Infrequent diagnosis and ignorance about the virus make herpes the most common STD in the world.

However, when diagnosed properly, people who have genital herpes can become proactive about their health and take advantage of treatments that may reduce frequency and duration of outbreaks. Treatment (http://herpes-virus.org/treatments.htm)can also reduce the risk of transmitting genital herpes to sexual partners.
About the Author
Dylan Morris is a freelance writer and supporter of nutraceuticals, natural, herbal treatments for disease control and prevention. Visit http://herpaflor.com/ for more information.
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