Herpes Simplex

What is herpes simplex?

Herpes simplex is a virus which causes blisters and sores on the skin. It is most commonly found around the mouth, on the buttocks or genitals. There are two types of herpes simplex.

Type I:

This is the most common type of herpes simplex. It is also known as fever blisters or cold sores and is found on the lips, mouth, chin or cheeks. The number of lesions vary from one to a small cluster. Some people will only have one episode of the condition, while others may experience the same symptoms again either in the same location or nearby. A recurrence of this condition may be caused by various factors including fever, sun exposure or menstruation. The initial infection is usually more severe than any recurrence.

Type II:

This type of herpes simplex usually appears below the waist, on the genitalia, buttocks or cervix. Sexual intercourse is the most common means of contacting this infection. Symptoms include painful sores, fever, itching and or rash, and a burning sensation during urination. The course of this condition can include an initial infection followed by a recurrence. The initial infection may create symptoms that are milder and may go undetected as a herpes infection, but may be followed at times much later by another episode or series of such.

What is the treatment for herpes simplex?

There is no specific medication or vaccine to prevent this disease, however, new oral antiviral medication is now available for those who experience frequent episodes of this condition. It has been effective in reducing the number of outbreaks in some individuals.

Emphasis on prevention of transmission is very important. This would include avoiding sexual relations during a time in which the infection is active, in addition to not sharing cups, towels, or clothing.