It must first be noted that the herpes simplex discussed in this article are the genital and oral types only instead of the other types of the infection including ocular herpes, herpetic whitlow, and cerebral herpes infection encephalitis, among others. Oral herpes is the most common infection while genital herpes comes in second.
Facts on the Viral Disease
Herpes simplex is a viral disease caused by two types of the herpes simplex virus. In general, Type 1 (HSV-1) causes oral herpes while Type 2 (HSV-2) leads to genital herpes. However, HSV-1 can also cause genital herpes when transmitted via oral sex.
Most individuals will experience little to no symptoms of herpes simplex upon infection, a condition known as asymptomatic infection.
When the symptoms do manifest, these include tingling, burning and itching coupled with painful sensations on the affected area a few days before the blisters and sores typical of the infection appears.
The skin then becomes affected by either small red lumps or tiny white blisters, which can appear in and around the mouth for oral herpes as well as in and around the genital area often stretching to the thighs for genital herpes. The sores will give way to blisters, which will then rupture and become ulcers. The final stage of the infection is the appearance of the dry, yellowish scabs.
The symptoms can last for 2 to 4 weeks after the infection occurs. Recurrences may appear within a few weeks or months depending on the prevention methods adopted by the previously infected individual. The good news is that the outbreaks tend to lessen in frequency, severity and duration over a period of years.
Diagnosis is often definitive from physical examination alone. However, laboratory tests may be ordered in certain cases such as when babies, elderly persons and people with weakened immune systems are infected. These diagnostic tests include culture analysis and blood examinations.
There is currently no cure for herpes simplex. Instead, medications and self-care are recommended to lessen the severity, frequency and duration of the current infection and any future recurrences. Persons with herpes simplex are also advised to adopt safe sex measures like the use of condoms.
Statistics on the Viral Infection
The importance of knowing the facts and figures related to herpes simplex cannot be overemphasized. At the very least, said knowledge will educate more people about the impact of the viral disease on both physical and psychological health. Here then are the figures for herpes simplex for both the oral and genital types.
Approximately one in six adults between 14 to 49 years of age has the HSV-2 infection with many not even noticing it during the first time. This translates to roughly 30 million Americans infected with the virus. Each year, 1 million new of herpes are recorded worldwide with half a million new cases in the United States alone.
Genital herpes is more common in females than in males. Roughly 1 in 5 women will have it while only 1 in 9 men will suffer from outbreaks within the same 14-49 year old age group.
However, transmission from an infected man to his female sex partner is higher than from an infected woman to her male sex partner. About 80% of first-episode HSV-2 will recur while only 50% of cases will recur for the HSV-1 type.
Unfortunately, genital herpes is the most widespread sexually transmitted infection such that the number of cases for all other types of STDs pale in comparison. Here you will discover how to get rid herpes