Two viruses, herpes simplex 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex 2 (HSV-2), can cause genital herpes infection. Although similar, they are not the same. HSV-1 is the most common cause of oral herpes otherwise known as cold sores. HSV-2 is sexually transmitted, otherwise known as genital herpes. Herpes can remain dormant for a long period of time. Even where there are no symptoms, the infected person is still contagious.
Symptoms of Herpes Simplex 1 and 2
Symptoms of both herpes 1 and 2 are similar where sores, or blisters, filled with fluid appear. Once the fluid is absorbed, the sore scabs over. The infected person is still contagious. HSV-2 results in sores on the genitals, vulva, vagina, anus. It spreads during oral, vaginal or anal sex.
Risk of Getting Genital Herpes
Risk of contracting genital herpes can be minimized by being in a long term monogamous relationship with a non-infected partner. Using a condom also helps, but it is not always 100% effective. Herpes can be given from parts of the body that the condom does not cover. There is no cure for herpes. There are medications that can prevent, or shorten, outbreaks.
Next Steps If You’ve Contracted Herpes Unknowingly From A Partner
If you contract herpes from another person, that person may or may not know they have it. 70% of HSV infections are spread unknowingly. No outbreak is visible.
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