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What is The Herpes Virus?

herpes sores

Herpes is the name of a virus that can cause flare-ups of painful sores and blisters. There are three main types of herpes virus. Genital Herpes causes sores and blisters around the genital area, the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) causes cold sores around the mouth and Herpes Zoster is the virus that causes shingles and chicken pox. Each different type of herpes virus is uncomfortable for the sufferer and the first two cannot be cured.

Genital Herpes
The Genital Herpes virus is a contagious disease that is passed on through both vaginal and anal intercourse and oral sex. It first emerged on a substantial level during the 1970s and it is thought that around 30,000 people a year are newly infected with the disease. Whilst most Genital Herpes infections are mild they can also be quite severe. The signs and symptoms of Genital Herpes include:
• A dark or red patch on the anus or the genitals which is replaced with one or more ‘straw-coloured’ blisters.
• Swelling in the groin glands.
• A tingling or burning feeling in the genitals.
• Pain when urinating.
• Fever
• Flu like symptoms
• Discharge (in women)

Genital Herpes treatment consists of creams and medication in tablet form. These help to soothe the pain in the area and speed up the healing time of the sores and blisters. Unfortunately, there is no known Genital Herpes cure and the disease is likely to flare up from time to time, especially when you are stressed. The attacks do reduce in severity as time goes on and your doctor can give you anti-viral medication to keep the disease under control.

Although you should be aware that whilst you can always pass herpes on, you are most contagious just after experiencing the symptoms – this is called the ‘shedding’ stage and is when the virus is present in bodily fluids.

Herpes Simplex Virus
The Herpes Simplex virus attacks the mucous membranes in the mouth and the skin. There are two different strains of this virus:
• HSV 1 usually appears on the lips and mouth in the form of cold sores. This is the most common type.
• HSV 2 affects the genitals.

herpes virus

Around 1 in 9 adults in the USA are currently infected with the Herpes Simplex virus and herpes virus prevention is only possible if you practice safe sex. If you have had herpes at any time in your life it is important to let your partner know and use condoms during all forms of sexual activity.

{ 40 comments… add one }
  • shannon May 3, 2009, 10:48 pm

    omg!!! this iz serious an i kno i dnt want to get this im only 12 years old so i really dnt want to have to deal wit this

  • john June 13, 2009, 2:50 am

    Just make sure you protect yourself. If your about to “do it” wear a condom! Use common sense too, if something seems wrong it probably is.

  • celia June 22, 2009, 4:20 pm

    Oh my this is really serious , i never want to have this or any other disease that looks likes . i wont be able to live with myself .

  • macy June 25, 2009, 6:48 pm

    its crazy… people do crazy things and in the end this is what they get… so i mean i feel bad but those were your actions!

  • natasha June 29, 2009, 9:51 pm

    Sometimes they are not peoples actions, my friend was raped and ended up with herpes, don’t put all people down you don’t know the story

  • David July 1, 2009, 6:54 am

    hey… i had sex with an ex and a week later found out she was tested positive but it was unactive but i wore a condom and i dont know what the first signs are anyone who knows alot about it or has it please email me and tell me everything you know… your help is appreciated..

  • vanessa September 1, 2009, 4:55 pm

    you cant judge everybody for having this…sometimes its not their fault. the problem is the ppl who know they have it but still sleep with a bunch of ppl and not tell them. whats worse is the picture looks like a small childs mouth…very sad.

  • Joe Schmoe September 15, 2009, 7:19 pm

    Don’t listen to the liberals who tell you “go out and have all the sex you want! Just do it ‘safely!'”
    This kind of disease is what they want you to get. Look up some photos of syphilis. It’s horrible and disgusting. Someone who’s truly respectable saves it for the person they get married to. (And you can re-claim respectability by making a new commitment, if you’ve already done it.)

  • stephanie October 17, 2009, 9:26 am

    and actually. a lot of people are born with the virus. just in case people are ignorant. oh yes. they are!

  • Lilith October 26, 2009, 8:39 pm

    If you don’t protect yourself, any STD can come to you. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it won’t happen to you. Be careful who you have sexual contact with. Know them well. Trust them. Don’t fall into the one night stand ordeals. It only leads to touble. I know people who do have STDs, and it’s not a laughing matter. If anything, use a condom.

    • TEE November 6, 2010, 11:46 pm

      Even when you do know them, you do not!! Beware, even if you trust them; they may not care or be embarrassed and not know how to tell you and guess what you have dated 6 months and ready to further the relationship and HELLO. Do not ever think you know anyone or have waited long enough, get tested before you take the next step and if you do not, Well the ending is not a pretty sight.

  • L'anti-poupounne October 27, 2009, 8:15 pm

    Sweet ^^ xD

  • doodle November 26, 2009, 9:26 pm

    HSV-1 and 2 don’t only cause genital herpes!! They can also cause other rashes and they can be transmitted by saliva too… Just because you’ve got herpes doesn’t mean you’re “weird” or anything, maybe you just dank from the same glass then your cousin!!!
    You’re making such a big fuss about it… herpes doesn’t make you an outcast of society!

  • Bianca November 30, 2009, 7:43 pm

    Getting herpes is a very serious problem. Its something you have to live with everyday. Is a one night stand worth it?

    • Informed August 25, 2012, 4:45 pm

      it is NOT a serious problem. I think you sould open your eyes up to what can really affect a person in life don’t you? this is a mild skin condition, most often brought back on by people worrying about it. And ‘incurable’ it is not. The immune system ‘cures’ it, in the same way that colds and flus are ‘incurable’ and our body cures us. Yes we should all be safe, that goes without saying, but put things into perspective please. Everyone who thinks herpes is a big deal needs a reality check, and an education.

  • Andy December 26, 2009, 3:30 am

    I get cold sores once or twice a year due to the HSV-1 strand of the virus and although it is no where near as serious as the picture above it still happens and it happens to a very large percentage of people. I have had the virus since I was young because my mother has it and also gets cold sores and unfortunately it was passed to me from birth, but in no way shape or form does it make me less of a person or an outcast. I have it and since I know that I am a carrier I make sure to protect others from contracting the strand I carry and protect myself from contracting the other strand, HSV-2, that causes genital herpes. Although I am fully aware that the strands can very easily cross over. In the end it is all about educating yourself on the matter and in this day and age it is not very difficult to do so, whether you want to learn about the risks of this or other risks that you should look out for. Some people are born with it and some people get it later on in life, but if people educate themselves on the matter and use common sense then things like this will become more and more avoidable. Good luck to all and just remember to be smart and be safe and hopfully no harm will come your way.

  • Shante Golden December 28, 2009, 7:32 pm

    Having herpes does not make you a bad person nor mean that you were out having one night stands..i was with my ex for 6 months and used condoms everytime yet he still gave it to me…Regardless of how respectable of a person you are all it takes is ONETIME and you too could be infected..I don’t regret ontracting the virus because if i hadn’t i probable wouln’t be with my fiance who also has herpes and in turn we wouldn’t have our wonderfull son. I’ve had herpes going on 3 years and the first outbreak was horrible to the point that i had to go to the hospital and take narcotics but since then its fine. Please don’t be so quick to judge because just as easily as i got it that could be you next..

  • Jeff December 29, 2009, 5:31 am

    I got herpes from someone I was living with and supporting for three years. I get a few sores on my you know what about once a year. The public perception of this thing is way off. I have never had a one night stand in my life I am too tender hearted for that. I have had two sexual partners total how about you? Condoms do not protect you from herpes!

  • Girl February 1, 2010, 10:41 pm

    Hey hey hey. Honestly half of you are going on omg i never want to get this this is disgusting blah blah blah well fuck sakes honestly have some respect so many people have this disease and its not their fault me being one of them people like you who are ignorent and show no compassion or anything and say all this kind of stuff make it worse for us, do you think we wanted this? i dont think so oh and for the people saying its all your own fault, it wasnt my fault i got this! I had a partner who i loved so much and i was 100 percent loyal and i thought he was too aparently i was wrong we used condoms all the time no matter what we both insisted on it. I got herpes off my partner of 3 years wearing a condom showing no symtoms who i loved dearly so how dare you when u say its ”Their” fault. Its rude ignorent and hurtful because you dont have it and you have no idea what its really like.

  • Jessica February 5, 2010, 11:32 pm

    This just goes to show the ignorance that is common place in our world today. Ive been with my partner for 3 years, both faithfully, we are engaged to be married. We have a 2 year old son. My partner gets cold sores and he gave me one for the first time in my life about 2 weeks ago. I had just had surgery so my immune system was low. I must have touched the cold sore and transferred it on my fingers or something because i now have genital herpes. Im in severe pain and i know i will carry this for the rest of my life. I could give it to my next child, the child could have brain damage or worse, stillborn.

    I was a virgin before my fiance.

    Virus’s are transmitted many ways. Unless you are a medical docter or nurse dont even consider giving your false opinion on how its transmitted. We are not outcasts. Some of us were just unlucky. You wouldnt ostracise someone for having the flu. Thats catchable too dont you know.

    The say ignorance is bliss… why dont you tell us if thats true? Because clearly you all are.

  • Ashley February 7, 2010, 12:07 pm

    Somtimes you dont even know you have it and honestly dont bring people down, saying that that was ur action. it can happen to anyone. you can be dating someone for a while and they seem clean and u didnt know they cheated and gave u something.

    So dont say anything ignorant not knowing they full story.
    Knowing u have an std can cause you to have mental illness, such as depression .

  • Mandy February 9, 2010, 7:05 pm

    I was reading the comments and someone stated that the first outbreak was horible. What happens? Does it hurt? I have had some strange things happening to me in the last week and I am scared that I may of gotten it. However I also have been with the same guy for 1 1/2 years now.. so I am confused.

  • lupe salez February 18, 2010, 5:41 am

    wow that realy soundz searez i realy dont wanna get that itz grooss it almost made me barf :-(

  • kate bricks March 23, 2010, 11:36 pm

    hi guys. im getting texted today for herpes.
    and hey im no slut. i have a boyfirned i have been with for a while now.
    last sunday i gave him head. we both didnt know he was a carrier of it. he never had any symptoms but he passed it to me. my mouth looks just like the picture up top. but a few less uslers.
    herpes is not a bad thing, what doesnt kill you wil only make you stonger.

  • MandyS. March 24, 2010, 6:44 am

    I agree, as someone who always practiced safe sex and was with a partner who “tested negative” (or so I was told the entire year or so we were dating) I was diagnosed with Hsv-2. I havent had my first outbreak and the thought of it happening is very scary but it goes to show it can happen to anyone, no matter how safe you think you are. It doesnt make you a bad person, you mightve made one bad decision, but nowdays, who doesnt?? For anyone who doesnt have herpes but wants to look down on those who do before they even hear their stories, well, Karma is a BIG B****

  • lala March 26, 2010, 2:24 am

    this is so disgusting to see. It’s not even funny. There is this gurl at my skool that has something like that on her lips and its purple (ugh). I dont really kno if it IS herpes, but her lips look like that.

  • lala March 26, 2010, 2:27 am

    omg!!! im srry if i offended ppl!!!
    i didnt kno that u could get it still using a condom.
    im really srry

  • Angel Inahuazo June 2, 2010, 3:28 pm

    this is wrong

  • Geena Morales June 15, 2010, 6:03 am

    i have herpes and its not so bad as long as you stay calm and learn the FACTS, not that excessive bullshit about how sunlight brings on an outbreak. My boyfriend cheated on me and gave it to me so for whoever said “those were your actions” a few comments down, you can go fuck yourself. A lot of herpes, including mine, don’t look anything like the intense picture above. It can be just a small bump that feels hot and uncomfortable. Being safe (or just not having sex) is the only way to protect yourself. You shouldn’t rely on your partner, girls, to bring the condom. You should bring your own and even if you think you know the person is “clean”, you might be wrong. Shit, they might not even know they have anything. And that’s neither person’s fault. dealing with this is scary, especially when you’re young. I was diagnosed when i was 18 the same day my dog died. Its crushing and i had a breakdown as expected, but, as an optimist i try to look at the glass as half full, now i tell everyone that i’m sexually active with about my condition and they respect and appreciate me all the more for being forward and keeping their bodies from this disease (i also get laid without feeling guilty that i’m ruining someone’s life). i could never sleep with someone and not tell them, it would be doing the same thing to someone else as my boyfriend did to me. People are fucked up so you have to have your own back in these situations. Even if you love your boyfriend and he loves you, herpes loves no one. You don’t want to end up with something worse. And believe me, STDs get much worse. Herpes is pretty common considering 49% of sexually active people in the US are diagnosed with it. For people who have herpes, it is really not the end of the world. If you felt how i felt when i found out, you must be scared and feeling pretty unattractive but in reality it doesn’t change anything besides the fact that you have to man up and tell your future sexual partners (oh yes you will have sex again) that you have something you need to tell them before those drinks get ordered. I find it easier over the phone or through text messages, giving both parties time to consider the situation at hand privately instead of half naked and tipsy in an already paid for motel…Don’t get me wrong, it is definitely not cool beans, you don’t want this uncomfortable problem who has it’s own agenda that really doesn’t match your booty-call schedule, so remember, as many boring times as you’ve heard it BE SAFE. its better than having herpes!

  • anonymous June 29, 2010, 5:22 pm

    I have herpes and when I found out i was devistated plus I was pregnant with my first child. All I was worried bout was my unborn child and weather he would get it but thank god he didn’t. I take valtrex it helps in not having to many lesions (outbreaks). You can’t get rid of it so you just learn to live with it.

  • anonymous June 29, 2010, 5:24 pm

    you can not only get this by having sex you can get this by sitting on a toilet. kissing and so forth.

  • Andy White June 30, 2010, 5:14 pm

    Wow thats tuff stuff. Wear a bag, and buckle up!

  • jennifer September 7, 2010, 4:41 pm

    wow this is unbelieveable but what can i say i can’t judge no one because nobody in this world is perfect! just everybody try to prevent this viruses.

  • mocha30 September 17, 2010, 7:54 pm

    To all that have contracted the herpes virus I am sorry that there are ingnorant people in this world that are uncompassionate and non-understanding. I do not have the virus, but I am researching it for an up and coming report that I have due for my Anatomy class. My classmates and I chose herpes as a topic of discussion, becacuse there are so many people unaware of this type of STD. To educate yourself is the best way to keep safe wether you have the disease or not. I have learned so much from my research about herpes and my heart goes out for thoes of you who have it, but as someone said earlier it is not the end of the world and your lives will go on. Stay strong, be happy and live life to the fullest.

  • dina October 14, 2010, 4:19 pm

    this is something really sad,my 14 year old brother passed away cause of herpes just 4 months ago he left his newbrn child alone,now my nephew has no dad and i have no brother,all i got to say is be safe and take care,

  • lorie October 29, 2010, 7:21 pm

    yes i truly feel what does herpes do as I really did have too but I have not yet diagnosed. But as for the symptoms is, I believe I have it. As long as you can live with it,you can over come the lessions or blisters,its a matter of managing stress..gods speed to all

  • TEE November 6, 2010, 11:56 pm

    Be safe, it is not just trusting who you are with it is having them get tested with you and the results giveen to both of you at the same time! No games no lies just test results!!!!!

  • Male 22 November 28, 2010, 10:39 pm

    I have been with a girl for nearly a month who i love alot. She told me a week in that she has herpes. I decided after long thought i still want to be with her, I also have herpes now. I dont regret making love to her she is an amazing person it is not her fault she has it. *Condoms do not protect you from herpes!!!!*
    You can catch it from kissing, using someone else’s lip balm, drinking out of a cup of an infected person. If they give you head, basically anything to do with saliva or vaginal/penis area … 1-9 people have it. 90% dont experience symptons. I have experienced symptons slightly i have a small red bump on the shaft of my penis and a lil ulcer like thing on my lip. I guess im quite lucky. If you do find out you have it dont stress it makes it worse. Also go to the doctors tell him/her you have herpes and they will prescribe you some antibiotics to minimise symptons and speed up recovery. It’s not the end of the world!!!!!! please note the 1st outbreak is the worst and will last up to 20days.. after that you may get it 2-5 times a year and gets less and less every year

  • anne March 24, 2013, 3:22 am

    over 8o percent of the population has hsv1 (oral herpes) and have contracted it by sharing drinks, etc (not sexual) as children. They can then pass this to people when they eventually become sexually active. Therefore two virgins that become involved with each other can give each other herpes (genitally and or orally). do not judge!

  • One More Person December 2, 2014, 5:27 pm

    I get cold sores/Fever blisters… I get them maybe 2-3 times a year, mainly when I get chapped lips and an extreme upset stomach. Don’t know why it happens like that but does. Its NOT like the pictures above, but maybe a small cluster of bumps or one sore. I don’t have any now but chapped lips like I usually get due to dehydration and/or seasonal conditions. It sucks anyway you look at it and yes majority of the population has it and/or born with it.. nothing you can do about it but live with it. I also right now and noticed that I’ve got small white clusters of bumps on my inner lips, I don’t give oral at all for fear of getting an std of the mouth, but think it maybe related the hsv 1 (cold sores/fever blisters) Or another health condition.. not sure at this moment, but the same very nerve recking!!!!

    good luck to all!

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