June 25, 2016
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Genital Herpes in Women Overview (cont.)

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What is genital herpes?

Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by an infection with the herpes simplex virus (HSV). There are two types of herpes simplex virus.

  • HSV-1 is most commonly associated with blisters and ulcers around the mouth known as cold sores.
  • HSV-2 is associated with blistering lesions in genital areas that are exposed during sexual contact.

However, both types of herpes simplex virus can infect the mouth or the genital areas, meaning that genital contact with a cold sore on the mouth can lead to genital herpes. Likewise, kissing someone with a cold sore can spread the herpes simplex virus infection.

After the initial outbreak of herpes, the virus travels through the nerves and resides in nerve tissue within the body. Reactivations, or repeat occurrences of the blisters, can occur throughout an individual's lifetime. Among people aged 14 to 49, an estimated 1 out of every 6 people have the infection.

Genital herpes is not the same thing as genital warts. Genital warts are flesh-colored growths that appear on sexually-exposed areas due to infection with certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV).

How common is genital herpes?

  • Herpes simplex virus infection is very common.
  • Among people aged 14 to 49, an estimated 1 out of every 6 people (15.5% of the population) have been infected with HSV-2, the virus that is predominantly responsible for genital herpes.
  • Estimates suggest that in the US, 776,000 people become infected every year.
  • The viral infection is more common in women than in men.
  • Spread from men to women is known to occur more readily than from women to men.
  • According to WHO estimates, HSV-1 infects 67% of all humans under the age of 50. The majority of infected people are not aware they are infected.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/25/2016

Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/genital_herpes_in_women_overview/article.htm

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