Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection that is caused by HSV-1 (herpes simplex virus type 1) or HSV-2 (herpes simplex virus type 2). The majority of population infected with genital herpes suffer from HSV-2 and typically show no or only minor symptoms (CDC, 2012). The herpes virus can affect other areas of the body, such as the mouth, and therefore is a fairly common STI. When the virus is present around the mouth it is commonly referred to as "cold sores" (eMedicineHealth, 2012). Reliable statistics for prevalence in North America aren’t available but it is estimated that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 8 men have been affected by this virus (WomensHealth, 2009).
Herpes is passed by coming in contact with someone who is currently experiencing an outbreak. It can be transferred by kissing someone who has cold sores or by touching the sores; any body part of yours that comes in contact with the infected area can transfer the virus to your genitals, mouth, or eyes. The virus may be passed at the beginning or end of an outbreak when sores are not seen (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2011).
As with many of the contagious STIs, being armed with the appropriate knowledge and being aware is the first step to good prevention. The herpes virus cannot live long outside the body and can be killed with soap (Herpsite, 2012), so good sanitation of any and all toys is important.
Also the following tips should be kept in mind
CDC. (2012, 01 01). Genital Herpes - CDC Fact Sheet. Retrieved 09 3, 2012, from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/STDFact-Herpes.htm
eMedicineHealth. (2012). Cold Sores. Retrieved 09 02, 2012, from eMedicine Health: http://www.emedicinehealth.com/cold_sores/page2_em.htm
Herpsite. (2012). Genital Herpes Transmission - Risk - Latency - Viral Shedding. Retrieved 09 05, 2012, from Herpsite: http://www.herpesite.org/herpes-virus-infection-transmission-risk-shedding/
MedicineNet. (2012). Genital Herpes in Women. Retrieved 09 05, 2012, from MedicineNet: http://www.medicinenet.com/genital_herpes_in_women/page3.htm
MediResource. (2012). Genital Herpes. Retrieved 09 05, 2012, from MedBroadcast: http://www.medbroadcast.com/condition_info_details.asp?disease_id=246#.UERxcMFmSXs
Public Health Agency of Canada. (2011, 10 11). STI - Herpes. Retrieved 09 05, 2012, from Public Health Agency of Canada: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/std-mts/herpes-eng.php
PubMed Health. (2012). Genital Herpes. Retrieved 09 05, 2012, from PubMed Health: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001860/
WomensHealth. (2009, 08 10). Genital herpes fact sheet. Retrieved 09 02, 2012, from Women's Health: http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/genital-herpes.cfm
Someone else's art deserves recognition! The images presented in this article were borrowed from the following places:
Header Image: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2010/05/26/health/consults26/consults26-blogSpan-v3.jpg | Retrieved May 2, 2015
Image 6: http://www.valtrexguide.com/Images/safe-sex.jpg | Retrieved September 5, 2012