Herpes is an infection caused by HSV (herpes simplex virus). There are two types of virus which causes this infection; Herpes Simplex 1 and Herpes Simplex type 2.

How are the two viruses spread?

Herpes Simplex 1 is mostly transmitted through oral secretions or sores in the skin, sharing toothbrushes or even utensils with an infected person. The second type is Herpes simplex 2. This is mostly transmitted through sexual contact with an infected person. This virus affects the external genitalia, anal region, mucosal surfaces, and skin in other parts of the body.

How does the infections look like?

The infected person will have pimples and blisters that gradually crusts over and finally look like a small cut.

These signs will develop within the first two weeks after initial infection. The symptoms include fever-like symptoms, itchiness and burning sensation in genitalia.

How it spreads

Herpes is very contagious. It spreads through skin-to-skin contact and through oral, vaginal and anal sex. However, you will not get the virus from toilet seats, swimming pools and touching objects like soaps and towels among others.

How do you reduce risk of being infected?

The only sure of protection is avoiding vaginal, oral and anal sex altogether. Unprotected sex heightens the risk, use latex condoms for protection. Nevertheless, the herpes virus can be released from areas of the skin that do not have a visible herpes sore. For this reason, even condoms do not guarantee 100% protection.

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Does herpes have a cure?

It has no cure; however, the anti-herpes medication that will prevent you from getting infected. Daily suppressive therapy for herpes lowers the risk of spreading.

When one has both HIV and Herpes, the chances of spreading from one person to another becomes higher. Herpes seldom kills but if left untreated, it can be very serious. Neonatal herpes can spread to the brain of the child if not treated and cause meningitis and encephalitis.

One can still lead a normal life with genital herpes.  Any infected person should always seek medication.

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