Herpies/herpes is a chronic infectious disease caused by the herpies simplex virus, which is capable of transmitting from an infected person to a susceptible host in a wide variety of manner. Herpies Simplex Virus 1 (HSV-1), and Herpies Simplex Virus 2 (HSV-2) is the two members of Herpiesviridae or the Herpies virus family. Thus, people wondering about what are herpies virus need to know that this is a DNA virus, which causes a lifelong infection marked by episodically recurring symptoms interspersed by latent periods. The two members of the Herpies virus family causes an infection which results in the development of watery blisters on the skin or the mucous membranes in a number of areas in the body, primarily the mouth, lips, and genitals. The blisters heal with the characteristic scab formation of this infection, and then remain asymptomatic or with extremely mild symptoms till certain sporadic episodes cause its reactivation. However, it not possible to completely cure this infection because the virus hides itself in the cell body of neurons during the latent period which takes them beyond the reach of any antiviral medication or strategy.
What are Herpies Simplex Virus 1?
The two members of the Herpiesviridae family are both highly contagious, with HSV-1 causing cold sores in the oral area and on the lips, while the HSV-2 is the causative agent behind the genital Herpies. Infection with HSV-1 usually takes place during the early period in any person’s life, and then stays with them for the rest of their lifespan. The herpies virus of this infection spreads through sharing of utensils and lip balms, as well as, kissing and any other activity that can lead to close contact with the cold sores or exchange of saliva between an infected and an uninfected person. Moreover, it is quite possible as well to get genital herpies from HSV-1 if the virus comes in contact with the genital organs during its active phase. This is a distinct possibility if a person receives oral sex from another person with symptoms of an active bout of oral herpies infection such as cold sores. In fact, the virus is extremely efficient in spreading to others during the active phase.
What are Herpies Simplex Virus 2?
For all those wondering about what are Herpies infections of the genitals, the HSV-2 is the causative agent. This virus spreads from one person to another during sexual activities, and even whilst having protected sex, it can only provide modest protection against its transmission. Thus, the most rational measure that a person can adhere to prevent infection with HSV-2 is to limit their number of sexual partners, and also to desist from indulging in sexual activities with a partner showing clear symptoms of genital or oral herpies, since it is highly contagious during the symptomatic phase. This is because once the virus enters the body of a potential host; it quickly migrates from the skin surface and attaches itself to the cell body of neuron to make it a lifelong company of the host. It continues to emerge from its safe site once in a while in the presence of a potent trigger, which includes illness, stress, and exposure to sun, as well as, surgery, and menstrual periods.
Who Can Herpies Affect?
Even though any person can contact herpies infection, some of the population groups are more susceptible to contacting this infection than most others. The people most at risk of suffering from genital herpies are the ones who have multiple sex partners, and often tend to have unprotected sex, which makes them vulnerable to not only Herpies simplex virus but a wide gamut of other sexually transmitted diseases as well. This is the group that is most likely to wonder about ‘whats Herpies’, but limited knowledge in this regard is not going to serve them well.
Females are also at an heightened risk of contacting genital herpies from their infected partners compared to their male counterparts, while those people who have had sex at a very early age are at heightened risk as well. Uncircumcised men are also at a heighted risk of getting this disease from their partners compared to their circumcised counterparts. This probably has got something to do with the soft skin layer of the foreskin, which often serves as a potent point of entry for the herpies virus and cause an infection.
Moreover, people who are already suffering from one or more types of sexually transmitted diseases are much more susceptible to getting infected with this virus and suffering from Herpies infection. Finally, people with weakened immune system due to conditions such as HIV/AIDS, or undergoing chemotherapy to treat advanced stages of cancer are also highly susceptible to getting this infection. In fact, people infected with the herpies virus are more susceptible to HIV infection than those who are free of this infection.
Herpies in Pregnant Women:
Pregnant women often have the query of whats herpies, and what are the chances of their babies getting infected with the causative agent of this infectious disease during the gestation period, or at the time of their birth. The fortunate news is that the risk of contamination of baby is extremely low in mothers who have had the disease since before the duration of their pregnancy. This is because the body continues to produce antibodies against the virus, and older the infection, the better the chances of passing on some of that helpful antibody to the fetus to provide it with passive immunity to the virus. On the other hand, the risk of infection rises marginally if the pregnant mother contacts the infection during the first 13 months or 1st trimester of their gestation period.
The risk of infecting the fetus continues to rise as the later a gestating mother contacts the infection during her gestation period. In fact, doctors might have to opt for a cesarean section if the mother has contacted the infection during the 3rd semester, and is showing visual symptoms of the infection such as sores in the vaginal region. This is to prevent the exposure of the baby to the virus during its passage down the birth canal. However, doctors may not advice cesarean section if the mother is not showing any outward symptoms of the Herpies infection, or had contacted the infection much before the initiation of her pregnancy. In fact, doctors might advice any pregnant woman suffering from a symptomatic bout of herpies infection to take antiviral medications, and force the virus to go into its latent phase, which will minimize the chances of the child getting infected before or during birth.
Diagnosing Herpies Virus:
Diagnosing herpies virus infection can quite be challenging is certain cases because of the anonymous nature of the infection in a number of people. Whenever, sores, blisters are present, regardless of whether in the oral or genital region, doctors can visually check them for preliminary detection. Moreover, they can ask their patients to opt for HSV culture tests, which are much more confirmatory in nature. In addition to the culture tests, people suffering from Herpies infection can also opt for blood tests to confirm their presence in the body. These blood tests look for the presence of the antibodies against the herpies virus, which the body produces to combat the infection. Thus, it becomes possible to become confirmed regarding the existence of a herpies infection in the body with the help of this laboratory based diagnostic tests.
Preventing Further Herpis Outbreaks:
People who wonder about what is Herpis infection and about the best ways to manage the infection always need to keep one fact in their minds that there are no cures to this condition. Even though period use of the antiviral medications can help preventing the aggravation of the symptoms, and keep the virus in its latent state, prevention is always much more preferable than the use. While the aforementioned measure such as desisting from having sex with multiple partners or the one with symptoms of genital herpies, can help in the prevention of the spread of HSV-2, but HSV-1 can be more challenging to contain.
HSV-1, the causative agent of cold sores, can spread through contaminated articles of everyday use such as towels, lip balms, and much more. Thus, the best option is to limit physical contact with a person suffering from cold sores during the active phase of the infection. However, this can problematic in case of small children who often tend to contact the infection from other children during the time they spend together in close proximity within the classroom or on the playground.
Washing hands after coming in contact with a person suffering from cold sores can prove to be surprisingly effective in preventing the transmission of this virus. Moreover, not sharing silverware, towels, lip balms, and other such items can help in keeping the spread of this virus in check. Finally, desisting from kissing a person with cold sores, or having oral sex will help in ensuring that their partners do not get infected with the Herpies Simplex 1 virus either in their oral or genital region. These preventive measures will help in averting the recurrent symptoms of herpies/herpes infection, which are quite distressing to say the least.
What causes herpies simplex?
Oral herpies (herpies simplex type 1)
What Is the Long-Term Outlook for Herpies Simplex?
Herpies simplex virus
What is herpies?