Herpes is a common infectious disease caused by the HSV-1 and HSV-2 viruses. Most often spread through direct or sexual contact, one in six Americans are estimated to be carriers of the virus. Many carriers are unaware of the infection. Herpes may have few symptoms, so it is important to prevent exposure where possible and know what signs to look for when exposure is suspected. In asymptomatic patients, a blood test may be needed to detect the herpes virus. At this time, there is no cure for herpes. Steps can be taken, however, to prevent infection or treat an already present infection.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

The most common symptom of herpes is an outbreak of sores that can rupture and become painful or itchy. These blisters can appear orally or on the genitals, buttocks or anus and may take several weeks to heal. During the first outbreak, flu-like symptoms such as fever, aches and swollen lymph nodes may also be present. Outbreaks may be severe or mild and may or may not recur several times. It should be noted however, that these symptoms do not always accompany herpes infection, so many are unwitting carriers. It should also be noted that herpes can be spread even when there is not an active outbreak, so preventative measures should be taken as carriers are considered contagious indefinitely.  Continue reading for Causes information . . .


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