There are two types of herpes simplex viruses: herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 are highly contagious and can be spread easily from one person to another. HSV-1 is typically associated with oral herpes, or cold sores, while HSV-2 is typically associated with genital herpes. However, both viruses can cause infections in either the oral or genital region.
HSV-1 and HSV-2 can cause long-term, recurrent infections. While there is no cure for either virus, there are treatments available that can help to control symptoms and reduce the risk of transmission. It is important to be aware of the symptoms of HSV-1 and HSV-2, as well as the treatments available, in order to reduce the risk of transmission and to seek treatment if needed.
Here is everything you need to know about herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2).
HSV-1: Everything You Need To Know About Oral Herpes
HSV-1 is a highly contagious virus that is typically associated with oral herpes or cold sores. HSV-1 is typically spread through contact with saliva, such as during kissing or sharing drinks or utensils. It can also be spread through contact with infected skin, such as when someone with a cold sore touches their mouth or nose.
HSV-1 can also be spread through sexual contact, although it is less likely to be spread this way than HSV-2. It is important to remember that HSV-1 can be spread through any type of sexual contact, including oral, anal, and vaginal sex.
HSV-1 is a lifelong infection that can cause long-term, recurrent outbreaks. There is no cure for HSV-1, but treatments can help control symptoms and reduce the risk of transmission. It is important to be aware of the symptoms of HSV-1 and to seek treatment if needed.
You Can Get HSV-1 From:
- Sharing Toothbrushes With
- Using The Same Eating Utensils
- Drinking From The Same Glass
- Contact With Someone With Cold Sores With Unwashed Hands
What Brings On HSV-1 Outbreaks?
Outbreaks occur at different rates for different people, but typically, new HSV-1 infections will reach a peak around month three and will taper off over the next few months. HSV-1 outbreaks can also vary in terms of duration – some people will have brief episodes of outbreaks one or two times every year, while others may have sporadic outbreaks that last for months or even years.
Other things can bring on outbreaks, such as:
- Immunosuppression due to AIDS, HIV, diabetes, steroids, chemotherapy
What Are The Symptoms Of HSV-1?
The symptoms of HSV-1 vary from person to person and can often be mild. However, some people may experience more severe symptoms, including:
Cold Sores - These are small, blister-like lesions that typically appear on the lips. They may be red, painful, and easily contagious.
Throat Infections - HSV-1 can cause a throat infection, which may cause a sore throat, difficulty breathing, and fever.
What Can You Do To Prevent HSV-1?
There is no cure for HSV-1, but there are several things that you can do to reduce your risk of getting the virus. These include washing your hands often and thoroughly, avoiding contact with active cold sores, and avoiding close contact with people who have cold sores. Many people also choose to take antiviral medication to help control symptoms and lower the risk of transmission. These medications can be effective, but they do not always work, so it is important to discuss the risks and benefits of using them with your health care provider.
How is HSV-1 Treated?
There is no cure for HSV-1, but there are several treatments available that can help to manage symptoms and reduce the risk of transmission. These treatments can include:
Antiviral Medications - Antiviral medications can help to reduce the number and duration of outbreaks. Some medications are specific to HSV-1 and others are more general in their effects.
Therapies That Decrease Symptoms - Many people choose to use therapies that help to decrease the severity of their symptoms. These therapies may include:
- Creams and Ointments - These can help to soothe the skin and reduce the number and severity of outbreaks.
- Medicines To Antihistamines - These medications can help to reduce the symptoms of a cold sore and may also be helpful for treating other types of infections.
HSV-2: Everything You Need To Know About Genital Herpes
HSV-2, or herpes simplex virus 2, is a virus that causes outbreaks of small, painful blisters on the genitals. HSV-2 is passed through direct contact with the lesions or fluid from the lesions, including during oral sex.
The virus can also be spread through close contact with objects that have been contaminated with HSV-2, such as a bedspread or towel used by someone with HSV-2. HSV-2 can also be passed from mother to child during childbirth.
There is no cure for HSV-2, but there are treatments available that can lower the severity and frequency of outbreaks. Anyone who has HSV-2 should discuss their risk factors and available treatment options with their doctor.
You Can Get HSV-2 From:
- Vagina Sex With Someone Who Has HSV-2
- Oral Sex With Someone Who Has HSV-2
- Anal Sex With Someone Who Has HSV-2
- Direct Contact With Fluids From the Virus
- Mother To Child During Childbirth
What Brings On HSV-2 Outbreaks?
There is no definitive answer to this question as each person's body reacts differently to the HSV-2 virus. Some people may only experience a single outbreak, while others may experience recurrent outbreaks. Triggers for HSV-2 outbreaks vary from person to person and can include:
- Exposure to the sun
- Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during menstruation
- Infection or illness
- Trauma to the skin, such as a cut or scrape
- The use of steroids
- Certain prescription medications
What Are The Symptoms Of HSV-2?
HSV-2 typically causes painful genital lesions, which may be preceded by an itchy or burning sensation in the area. Some people may also experience flu-like symptoms, such as fever, muscle aches, and headaches. In some cases, there may be no symptoms at all.
The Most Common Symptoms of HSV-2 Are:
- Genital lesions
- Itchy or burning sensation in the area
- Flu-like symptoms, such as fever, muscle aches, and headache
- No symptoms at all
Hundreds of thousands of people have herpes and don't even know it. This is because in many cases, herpes doesn't present any symptoms. If you think you might have herpes, it's important to see your doctor, so you can get tested and treated, if necessary. This will help prevent the spread, and also help your doctor stop you from having any outbreaks.
What Can You Do To Prevent HSV-2?
There is currently no vaccine to prevent HSV-2 infection. However, you can take some steps to reduce your risk of becoming infected, including:
- Use condoms every time you have sex
- Avoiding sexual contact if you have any sores or blisters
- Getting tested and treated for any STDs
- Reducing your number of sexual partners
- Only having sex with partners who have been recently tested for STDs and STIs
Trying to minimize the likelihood of coming into contact with the virus through oral sex by using a condom or dental dam can decrease risk, but the only real way to prevent HSV-2 transmission is to only have sexual contact with someone who has been checked out and is free of the virus or abstaining from sexual contact.
How is HSV-2 Treated?
There is no cure for HSV-2, but there are a variety of treatments available for people who are infected. Treatment involves using antiviral medications to reduce the symptoms of the infection and prevent it from spreading to other areas of the body.
Some of the most common medications used to treat HSV-2 include acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir), and valacyclovir (Valtrex). These medications can help to relieve the symptoms of the infection, such as fever, headache, muscle aches, and gastrointestinal problems.
Many people also find that taking antiviral medications regularly helps to keep the virus from returning. However, there is no cure for HSV-2, so the virus can still be activated and spread even if you are taking medication.
Anyone who is infected with HSV-2 should avoid contact with the genital area of any person who does not have HSV-2 as well as any open cuts or sores on the genital area. Trying to protect yourself from the virus by using safe sex practices, taking antiviral medication, and avoiding close contact with people who are infected are all important steps to preventing HSV-2 from becoming a problem.
HSV-1 and HSV-2 are both caused by the herpes simplex virus. HSV-1 is more commonly known for causing cold sores (oral herpes), while HSV-2 is more commonly known for causing genital herpes. There is no cure for either HSV-1 or HSV-2, but there are treatments available that can help to alleviate the symptoms.
The best way to prevent HSV-1 and HSV-2 outbreaks is to practice safe sex, avoid contact with saliva and blood, and get vaccinated if you are at risk. If you do get an HSV-1 or HSV-2 outbreak, treatments such as antiviral creams and genital herpes treatments can help to ease the symptoms and shorten the duration of the infection.
This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.