Important herpes facts that you should know:
1. Herpes simplex virus causes genital herpes and has two types, type 1 and type 2. At least one type will be caught by almost everyone sooner or later.
2. Most infected people will be unaware they have it:
1 in 5 will be asymptomatic or show no symptoms;
3 in 5 will experience mild symptoms and will not be diagnosed;
1 in 5 will experience symptoms and will consult a doctor.
3. The viruses from herpes generally will not affect fertility or lead to serious health conditions.
4. Stating that it is ‘incurable’ is giving it more importance when it shouldn’t.
5. Recurrences can happen to some infected people, but there are ways to stop or reduce them.
6. There are other infections that stay in the body such as glandular fever, chickenpox, and a lot more.
There are 8 kinds of herpes viruses in a human being. Animals have their own herpes virus too such as the horse, car, cat, etc. All these viruses have the same common trait which is to lie dormant in the body without developing symptoms with periodic outbreaks. They can get better without medication which makes them ‘self-limiting’. Here is a list of the human herpes viruses:
- Type 1 herpes simplex virus
Whitlows and cold sores on the mouth, hands, and fingers, also could lead to genital herpes during oral sex. The infection can be transmitted by direct contact with the infected part. Symptoms may vary for different people as others may experience this after 4-5 days after exposure while it may take years for the other people. Its most obvious symptoms will be ulcers or blisters on the infected area accompanied with flu-like illness. The next outbreak will present fewer skin ulcers or blisters.
- Type 2 herpes simplex virus
Genital sores, and sometimes whitlows and cold sores. This is a fairly common infection that is caught when there is direct skin-to-skin contact with the infected part. It also causes ulcers or blisters on the infected part wherein fewer blisters will be experienced on the next recurrence time.
Other illnesses caused by other herpes viruses are:
- Varicella-zoster virus
This is herpes zoster for shingles and herpes varicella for chickenpox. Chickenpox is an airborne type of virus that can be transmitted from the breath of people infected with it or through the air. A recurrence of chickenpox is called shingles.
- Epstein-Barr virus
It is also referred to as EBV, mononucleosis, glandular fever or kissing disease. It commonly affects teenagers and young adults where infection can be passed through the saliva. Sometimes it could produce mild symptoms, but in teenagers it could cause fatigue, sore throat, aching joints, fever which can take as long as weeks or months to recover.
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
Poorer areas are prone to this virus where it is passed through breast milk, saliva, and other body secretions.
- Virus 6 human herpes or exanthem subitum or roseola
This is very common in babies which are transmitted by saliva. Usually, most babies will have been infected by age 2.
- Virus 7 human herpes
Almost all children by the age of three will have been infected with it. It is transferred through saliva.
- Virus 8 human herpes
It is also known as Kaposi’s sarcoma and usually passed on during sex. This could lead to Kaposi’s sarcoma which is a skin cancer that could affect people infected with AIDS.