Herpes is an infection that is caused by a herpes simplex virus (HSV). Oral herpes causes cold sores around the mouth or face. Genital herpes affects the genitals, buttocks or anal area. Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). It affects the genitals, buttocks or anal area. Other herpes infections can affect the eyes, skin, or other parts of the body. The virus can be dangerous in newborn babies or in people with weak immune systems.
There are two types of HSV:
- HSV type 1 most commonly causes cold sores. It can also cause genital herpes.
- HSV type 2 is the usual cause of genital herpes, but it also can infect the mouth.
HSV spreads through direct contact. Some people have no symptoms. Others get sores near the area where the virus has entered the body. They turn into blisters, become itchy and painful, and then heal.
Most people have outbreaks several times a year. Over time, you get them less often. Medicines to help your body fight the virus can help lessen symptoms and decrease outbreaks.
- Herpes Simplex (American Academy of Dermatology)
Diagnosis and Tests
- Herpes (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Herpes Simplex (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Acute Retinal Necrosis: Presenting Characteristics and Clinical Outcomes in a...
- Article: Association of the Emergence of Acyclovir-Resistant Herpes Simplex Virus Type...
- Article: Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 Acquisition Among HIV-1-Infected Adults Treated...
- Herpes Simplex -- see more articles