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Main > Specialty Areas > Venereology and STDs >
Herpes

What is Herpes?

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted viral infection. The word herpes comes from a Greek word "herpein" which means "to crawl." That basically describes the condition: it begins with one single vesicle and then "crawls" or spreads around the body, creating more. In the past, people considered genital herpes to be the punishment for promiscuous behavior.

Genital herpes is caused by two distinct, but similar types of virus. Herpes simplex or HSV-1, which is mostly responsible for the cold sores, generally does not cause genital herpes, but can migrate from affected areas to other mucosal surfaces upon contact. Generally, Type 1 virus (or HSV-1) causes only about 10% of genital herpes. By far, the most common perpetrator is the Type 2 (or HSV-2), which causes 90% of genital herpes.

Genital intercourse, oral sex, anal sex or any direct contact with infected areas that involves transfer of bodily fluids can easily lead to infection. It is even possible (although, extremely not probable) to catch it from a dirty toilet seat. And even – from an infected partner who is showing no symptoms.

Herpes Symptoms ››

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Random Useful Tip:
Epinephrine shot
If you are known to have a severe anaphylactic reaction, carry an epinephrine (adrenaline) shot with you at all times. Pay attention to expiration date and replace it regularly: upon expiration, it loses its effectiveness.

Random Drug Info:
Acyclovir
Acyclovir is a medication that is used to treat herpes infections of the skin, lips and genitals, chicken pox and shingles. It comes in the form of ointments, tablets, capsules or liquids. It relieves pain and itchiness and promotes healing; however, it does not cure the condition. Possible (but not common) side effects include headaches, upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea. Severe side effects, such as severe rash or itching, blood in the urine, stomach pain or fever are even less common, but require prompt medical attention.



 
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