Herpes Transmission

Herpes: Understanding How The Virus Is Transmitted

Herpes is a STD that is caused by either HSV-1 or HSV-2. Both strains could spread orally and genitally. HSV-1 is usually found orally. HSV-2 isn’t commonly known for spreading orally. Oral herpes could cause cold sores on the lips, mouth, and on the tongue. The sores could also be found around the lips or under the nose.  Kissing someone with the virus usually spreads oral herpes. If the symptoms are present the virus is more likely to spread. A partner is likely to come in direct skin-to-skin contact with the virus. There are no protective barriers used when kissing happens.

HSV-2 is known to spread genitally. HSV-1 isn’t that common genitally. Genital herpes could cause lesions on the penis or vagina. A single lesion or a bunch of lesions may occur. A rash or cold sore that contain a fluid may occur.  Genital herpes outbreaks could shift to other areas of the genital region. If herpes surfaces the skin a burning, itching or tingling feeling could occur. Sex could be painful when the virus is active and put a partner at high risk to catch the virus. A partner’s genitals could still come in direct contact with the virus even if a condom is used. A condom could break or may not cover the base of the penis.

Herpes is most likely to spread if unprotected sex happens or if a condom breaks. Anal or vaginal sex is the most commonly way the virus is transported to a partner. In less common cases a person becomes infected with the virus by having oral sex. If one partner has oral HSV-1 and the other partner doesn’t have genital herpes the partner receiving oral sex may catch the virus. The person receiving oral sex could come in direct genital contact with HSV-1, because the person performing oral sex has oral HSV-1. If a partner has genital HSV-2 a partner without oral herpes could catch oral HSV-2 orally. The partner’s lips and mouth may come in direct contact with HSV-2 orally.

Many people think they are negative for herpes or don’t understand what the symptoms of the virus are. Sometimes a person won’t show any symptoms of the virus. By having unprotected sex the virus is likely to enter the body through mucous membranes. A mucous membrane is an inside part of your body that is aligned with epithelial cells or tissue. The herpes virus is small enough to enter thought mucous membranes. The most common mucous membranes that come in contact with herpes is the penis, scrotum, vagina, and mouth. The body usually has the ability to weaken the virus rather than completely fight it off. If you come in direct contact with the herpes virus the chances are high that you will be a carrier for the virus for life.

However, the human body usually weakens the herpes virus. When the virus is weak, herpes won’t attack the nervous system. Therefore the antibodies won’t be likely to even show up on a blood test. Negative herpes blood test results don’t mean a person is negative for the virus. Herpes could spread even if the virus is dormant. The virus travels through the central nervous system. The virus could surface the skin even if there aren’t any known symptoms of the virus.

Sometimes the symptoms of herpes could be so mild a person may not even know they carry the virus. A simple sore on the mouth is referred to as a cold sore. A sore on the mouth that isn’t caused by injury or malnutrition is actually caused by the herpes simplex virus. Oral herpes is very common, seem there isn’t any way to protect your self from catching the virus through kissing. Most people don’t show symptoms of the virus because the body naturally weakens the virus. In fact about 80% of sexually active adults are a carrier for the herpes virus.

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