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Genital Herpes

What is genital herpes?
How can genital herpes spread?
What is the difference between the herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2)?
Can herpes be cured?
What happens if I don’t get treated?


What is genital herpes?


Genital herpes is an STD mainly caused by herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is usually lead to oral herpes. In some cases, oral herpes can be spread from mouth to genitals.
Herpes virus is an infectious virus which can appear as foam on skin in different form such as chicken pox, cold sore or genital herpes.

How can genital herpes spread?


There is a chance of getting genital herpes if having unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has HSV-2. Through oral sex, oral herpes caused by HSV-1 can be passed to the genitals, causing genital herpes.
Besides, herpes simplex virus can be spread through:
・Body fluid, like saliva and genital secretion
Direct skin to skin contact
Unlike HPV, you will not be infected with herpes by going to the public toilet, swimming pools or touching objects like towel or toilet seats.  

What is the difference between the herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2)?


They can cause similar symptoms but are genetically different. Although both HSV-1 & HSV-2 can be caught on the whole body,
・HSV-1 causes cold sore on lips. It is more often reappear if it is caught on the face and is less likely to recur if it is caught on the genitals.
・HSV-2 causes genital herpes and recur more often if it has been caught on the genitals.
It is hard to differentiate type 1 and type 2 by observations. The only reliable way to detect the type of HSV you have caught is through a blood examination.

Can herpes be cured?


Once infected, the virus stays within the body for life. It is normally suppressed by your own immune system but when your immune system is weakened, the virus reactivates. Medications can prevent or shorten outbreaks, which makes it less likely to pass the infection to your partners.

What happens if I don’t get treated?


Genital herpes can cause severe pain from the genital sores. There is a possibility of transferring herpes to other part of the body if you touch the sores or the fluids from the sore. To avoid spreading herpes to another part, immediately wash your hands after touching the sores or fluids.