Herpes is an infection that stays in the body throughout life. The World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that about 3.7 billion people below the age of 50 years have HSV-1 (Herpes Simplex Virus type 1), which accounts for about 67% of the world population in that age range. Another 417 million people between the age bracket of 15 and 49 have HSV-2 (Herpes Simplex Virus type 2), that’s about 11% of the whole population
What is Herpes? Herpes is a well known virus that causes sores to pop up on the mouth or genitals. This infection could be painful, but most times doesn’t result into serious health problems. Once infected with herpes, it stays for life.
Causes of Herpes
Herpes is caused by two similar viruses; HSV-1 (Herpes simplex virus type 1) and HSV-2 (Herpes simplex virus type 2). Both can lead to sores coming out of areas around the anus, vagina, vulva, cervix, penis, scrotum, lips, butt, throat, mouth, inner thighs and rarely around the eyes.
When your genital (penis, vagina, scrotum, vulva, anus, cervix, butt and inner thighs) is infected with either HSV-1 or HSV-2, then it is referred to as genital herpes, while oral herpes is when you are infected with either HSV-1 or HSV-2 in or around your mouth, lips and throat.
Spread of Herpes
Herpes spreads easily through skin contact with infected persons, often during kissing, oral sex, and vaginal sex. When infected, itchy and painful sores come and go. So many people infected with herpes didn’t notice the sores or took them for something else, so they had no idea they were infected. Herpes can be spread even without showing any symptoms.
You may get Herpes even without sexual intercourse. At times, it is spread through non-sexual ways i.e if an infected person pecks your lips. Most people infected with oral herpes got it a young age, while they were kissed by infected parents or relations.
You can infect other parts of your body with herpes , if you touch a herpes sore and without cleaning up your hands, touch your genitals, mouth or eyes. You can also infect someone else this way.
Open and wet sores from Herpes make it very contagious, but it could be spread even in the absence of sores. Most people infected with Herpes got it from someone with no sores. This virus can live in the body for a long time without giving any signs, so it is difficult for one to know when and how you got infected.
This virus cannot be transmitted through coughing, hugging, sneezing, holding hands or sitting on toilet seat as the virus dies once it is outside a living body.
Treatment of Herpes
Herpes has no cure, but taking medications can ease your symptoms and possibly prevent you from transferring the virus to others.