Herpes is a viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). There are two types of herpes simplex virus: HSV-1, which primarily causes oral herpes (cold sores), and HSV-2, which primarily causes genital herpes.
Herpes is highly contagious and can be spread through close skin-to-skin contact, including sexual contact. Once a person is infected with herpes, the virus remains in the body for life and can cause recurrent outbreaks.
Symptoms of herpes can vary, but often include:
- Painful blisters or sores on or near the mouth or genital area
- Itching or tingling near the site of the future outbreak before the blister appears
- Flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue
Herpes outbreaks can be treated with antiviral medications, which can help to reduce the severity and duration of symptoms. In addition, antiviral medications can help to reduce the risk of transmission of herpes to others.
There is currently no cure for herpes, but with proper medical treatment and lifestyle changes, many people are able to manage their herpes symptoms and reduce the frequency of outbreaks. It is important to practice safe sex and to communicate openly with sexual partners about your herpes status in order to reduce the risk of transmission.
If you have symptoms of herpes, it is important to see a doctor for a diagnosis and appropriate treatment. With proper medical care, most people with herpes are able to manage their symptoms and lead a healthy, active life.