Herpes is the shortened name for the herpes simplex virus (HSV). There are two main strains of the virus, HSV-1 and HSV-2. Both can be transmitted sexually. It’s a very common STD. The CDC estimates more than 1 out of 6Trusted Source people ages 14 to 49 have herpes in the United States.
HSV-1 primarily causes oral herpes, which is responsible for cold sores. However, HSV-1 can also be passed from one person’s mouth to another person’s genitals during oral sex. When this happens, HSV-1 can cause genital herpes.
HSV-2 primarily causes genital herpes.
The most common symptom of herpes is blistery sores. In the case of genital herpes, these sores develop on or around the genitals. In oral herpes, they develop on or around the mouth.
Herpes sores generally crust over and heal within a few weeks. The first outbreak is usually the most painful. Outbreaks typically become less painful and frequent over time.
If a pregnant woman has herpes, she can potentially pass it to her fetus in the womb or to her newborn infant during childbirth. This so-called congenital herpes can be very dangerous to newborns. That’s why it’s beneficial for pregnant women to become aware of their HSV status
Effective treatment and safe sexual practices can help you lead a comfortable life with herpes and protect others from the virus.
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