For those of you who don’t know anything or very little about Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), here’s what you need to know:
- There are two types: HSV-1 and HSV-2
- HSV-1 is commonly found around the mouth, while HSV-2 is commonly found in the genital area, though they can be found in either place and can occur on other areas of the body
- HSV can cause one or more painful blisters during a viral outbreak. Other common symptoms include headache, fatigue, and leg pain
- When the virus is not active, it remains dormant in the nerves
- The frequency of viral outbreaks differs by person – some may have them every few weeks, while others may never have an outbreak
- It IS possible to spread HSV to someone else even when you are not having an outbreak through viral shedding. This occurs when the virus is actively making copies of itself
- Outbreaks are more likely to occur when your body is under stress – this includes mental stress, illness, etc.
- While there is currently no FDA-approved cure or vaccine for the virus, there are several antiviral medications that can help manage the symptoms
- HSV-positive individuals are at higher risk for contracting HIV if engaging in intercourse with an HIV infected individual
- Approximately 50-80% of the population has HSV-1, while approximately 20% of the population has HSV-2
- STD screens do not usually include HSV testing. Blood tests for HSV are not aimed at detecting the virus itself. They are aimed at detecting any antibodies the body has produced in response to the virus. For individuals who have never had symptoms of the virus, chances are their HSV-antibody levels are too low to be detected
- Most individuals who have either form of HSV don’t know they have it. This is usually because many individuals don’t ever experience symptoms of it, or if they have, they’ve mistaken it for an ingrown hair, jock itch, or something else
These are just a few of the important things to know regarding the virus. If you want to know more about the virus, I suggest heading here as a starting point.