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Herpes Overview

Herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). It is referred to as type 1 (HSV1) or type 2 (HSV2). It causes painful blisters to appear on the genitals and the surrounding areas. Genital herpes can be passed to others through sexual contact.

It’s estimated that 1 in 5 people in the US of people between the ages of 16 and 49 have HSV2. Recent studies have indicated that up to 70 percent of people between those ages may have the virus. That study is still under question, so cannot yet be taken as fact.

HSV1 is acquired orally and the most common symptom is cold sores.

HSV2 is acquired through sexual contact and affects mainly the genital area.

What is Herpes?

The herpes simplex is a virus and works as such. It causes ulcers or sores such as cold sores or genital blisters. It is an effective virus, but one the human immune system is equipped to fight. Of those people infected with the virus, the majority of them are asymptomatic. This is one of the reasons medical studies are conflicted on the true infection rate in America.

It is passed through sexual contact, so is regarded as a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD). This is because the moist skin that lines the mouth, genitals and anus is the most susceptible to infection.

The virus can also enter the body through a cut or abrasion on the skin. If the wound comes into contact with a cold sore for example, the virus can pass into the body. This is rare, but does happen occasionally.

Herpes Signs and Symptoms

If symptoms do occur in the infected, they appear between 2 and 8 days after contracting the virus. The symptoms will generally last up to a month, then disappear.

Symptoms include:

  • Itching or tingling sensation in the genital or anal area
  • Small fluid-filled blisters that burst leaving small sores
  • Flu-like symptoms, including swollen glands or fever
  • Pain when passing urine over the open sores (especially in women)
  • Headaches
  • Backache

Any of these symptoms can be caused by a number of things, which is why the virus is difficult to identify. The initial symptoms will disappear, only to reappear at random times. Not everyone will display the initial outbreak, let alone further ones.

As each outbreak appears, the symptoms become less and less. This is because the immune system fights the virus effectively and suppresses it when it arises. Anyone, including those who have been previously asymptomatic, may display symptoms when under stress or ill with something else. The weakness of the immune system as it fights something else can allow the virus to surface again.


There is no “cure” for the herpes simplex virus. Once the virus has been contracted, it stays within the body for life. However, once the immune system has dealt with it, the effects and symptoms can often never appear again. The virus will still be present, and can be passed on, but symptoms do not always follow.


Even though there is no cure for herpes, the symptoms and the discomfort can be treated in a number of ways.

  • Painkillers such as paracetamol may help to ease pain
  • Anesthetic ointment that you can buy at pharmacies can relieve itching or pain
  • An ice pack placed over any sores for 5-10 minutes can be soothing
  • Drinking lots of water can help dilute urine, making it easier to pass
  • Avoiding scented soaps and shower gel is a good idea too, as these may irritate the sores
  • Antiviral medication may be prescribed in persistent cases

Antiviral medication doesn’t treat the virus itself but prevents it from replicating itself. The strength of a virus comes from how quickly the cells reproduce and spread around the body. Antiviral medication interrupts this reproduction allowing the immune system to fight the virus.

This doesn’t kill off the virus, but makes any outbreaks easier to handle and of a shorter duration.This medication isn’t always necessary, and is often only prescribed in the very worst cases.

As already mentioned, as the virus lives in the body, the immune system becomes more adept at fighting it. Usually this results in it being completely suppressed and living dormant in the nerve fibers. If symptoms do occur, they generally lose their voraciousness each time they occur as the virus gets weaker and the immune system gets stronger.

Complications of Herpes

In the vast majority of cases, herpes is more an annoyance than a health threat. However, in a small minority of people, the sores can become infected and lead to other diseases or infections.

Herpes and Pregnancy

Having herpes doesn’t impact fertility. However, if the virus is contracted in the first three months of pregnancy there is a chance of miscarriage. Contracting the virus while pregnant also has a heightened risk of passing it to the baby. Seek medical advice in either of these situations.

It is possible to pass herpes on to the unborn child, the chances are currently 4 in 10. Those who suffer a serious outbreak around delivery time will be recommended for a Caesarian section so as to avoid passing the infection to the baby. Herpes in a child can become severe, so prevention is better than the cure.


It’s difficult to protect yourself, or a partner against something if you don’t know you have it. That’s why infection rates are so high. If symptoms do surface, it’s best to avoid contact with others until they have passed.


  • Kissing or performing oral sex when with cold sores around the mouth
  • Having oral sex when oral or genital sores are present
  • Having any genital or anal contact, even using a condom with genital sores
  • Using saliva to moisten contact lenses with sores around the mouth

A good personal hygiene regimen helps prevent infection. Washing hands before and after touching affected areas is vital, especially if there are children around.

Just because someone has herpes, doesn’t mean that sex is over. Checking with a physician or sexual health clinic can advise further.

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58 Responses to Herpes

  1. BILLY says:

    How long does it take to start showing symptoms of herpes? I have a small red bump on my mouth. I think I got it from my mother…

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  3. mike says:

    I gave a girl oral and she has herpes but I used plastic wrap on her. What are my chances of getting infected?

  4. sheena says:


  5. Nate says:

    so if a girl has herpes but has no symptoms then is it fine to have sexual activity’s?????

  6. may says:

    Does the fluid from the sore have to get on the noninfected person to contract herpes, or just touching someones genital during an outbreak do it also?

  7. Ron says:

    I have had an ocassional, (what looked like a pimple more than anything else,) on my genitles,but it totally goes away. Never a wart like rise that stays or changes shapes to stay…but is the herpes blister a clear fluid only???
    So I wondered if you all had a responce to my comments, but it appears from the video that going to the doctor is as its to late anyway…Seems as if maintenance is the only way to manage herpes. , yet I guess it only takes one time, I’m not even very active sexually….

  8. terry says:

    My x- wife has a pach that comes up about once a year on one of her cheak of her but, this happend about 6 years in to the marrage. we thought it was something eles. she went to the doctor last week and it was posative for herpes. I have nerver had a break out, we were married for 18 years, could i still have the viris.. I am starting a new relationship I haven’t had sex yet with her. I told her what my x said and now we don’t know what to do. I don’t want to pass any thing to her. What should i do…. ( HELP ) !!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. marlen says:

    I didn’t know i had it, until one time that i went to the doctor and cuz of those blisters they said it was herpes.. I have always been afraid and never asked a doctor but my concern is.. would my children have gotten it because i used to wash my clothes with theirs? I hope you get back at me soon i’m so worried, and just by seeing some pictures it worries me even more!

    • Carol says:

      Marlen, your babies can not get the virus because you’ve washed your clothes along with theirs. The virus can’t live outside of the body.

  10. Cody says:

    my area, down there is filled with open sores that hurt very bad, This girl that i plowed was filled with them 2. IS IT BAD IF THEY START TO BLEED?!!?

  11. Cody says:

    My partner gave me herpes when i plowed her and her nice ass. But now not only do i have herpes but they are bleeding and white puss is also coming out? i dont know what to do besides try to get help because rite now my skin is falling off my wang.

  12. Wednesday Evans says:

    Okay so me and my boyfriend have been together for almost a year and well we have had sex but i was his first so i knew he didnt have anything but i think i may have had oral with him when i had a blister im not 100% positive but through the middle of our relationship i started getting like 2 to three little bumps like they looked like skin tags they turned into like a pimple and they went away i dont have them anymore but my boyfriend its different i noticed that he has the same thing that i have around his and its like really freaking me out because im not sure if this is what i have? what should i do?!

  13. Ashlee says:

    Does anybody kno if its ok to have sex if I just got done taking the medicine and I been on the medicine for a week now and my sores are gone?but what the chances my partner is going to get it.

  14. Kri says:

    I went to a doctor today and she told me that my body is fighting off my herpe so do that mean they will go away and not come back? I do not have sores or anything down there she told me she well not give me med because my body is fighting it off!

  15. nigga says:

    wtf i need sum dick

  16. anne says:

    I have a bump above my top lip that doesn’t hurt, itch, or burn. Tried to pop it but wouldn’t pop. Could this be herpes?

  17. Kram says:

    I have had some little white bumps appear on my shaft right below my penis. There are no symptoms besides the little white bumps. No itching, burning, pain when peeing, tingling, or popping of the bumps. It has been two weeks since they appeared and I have a doctor’s appointment coming up to address this problem, but I am extremely worried that it may be herpes. Is it possible that it is herpes even though I have absolutely no symptoms besides the white bumps? Please advise. Thank you.

  18. gayle says:

    when is was pregnant with my baby the doctor told me i had herpes. he gave me medicine and me an my boyfriend has been together every since we never use protection because i know i got it from him but, its been this chick he cheated on me with i told her to get tested because they had been fooling around damn near a year but she said the doctor told her she didnt have it is that possible.

  19. Cassandra says:

    I am taking a microbiology class at college and i have to do a project on herpes. Could I get your permission to use a picture from your site? Thank you.

  20. Jon says:

    Ive had a small cluster of 4 bumps on my chest for a few months. They don’t seem to completely go away. Can that be herpes?

  21. junbert says:

    soar throat are one of the symptoms of having AIDS ?

  22. kacee says:

    If yu and yur partner both have herpes;but aren’t having an outbreak at tha moment is it okay to have sex without a condom??or would that start up tha virus again?? Or should yu just always use a condom

  23. Cali says:

    today i just found out i have herpes…iv been crying all day…..i was wondering if there is a way to tell how long iv had it? because i would like to know who i got it from. And is it okay to have sex with out a condom when there is no sores?

    • admin says:

      There is no way to tell how long you have had herpes that I am aware of. You generally get symptoms within 2 – 3 weeks of being exposed though. Your partner can contract herpes if you have sex even though you have no physical evidence of soars. Your partner can also contract herpes if you use a condom because the disease is transferred by skin contact and a condom often doesn’t protect all skin.

  24. moses says:

    now its becoming to much..for example am a male of about 24 yeas old in Africa and i think i have it bu tthe problem is i dont know what to do am afraid of going to the hospital andits very expensive ..am getting these swellings on the other parts of my body like my wrists ..iplease advise me on what i should do?

  25. mary says:

    Welll I agree wit someone on here bout dating it suxs if annyone wants to talk 3617174102

  26. kimmy says:

    hi, i think i have herpes, but this doesnt describe what i have! near my vag, there are bumps that go all over that ‘area’. im worried, cuz i know my former bf slept around a lot without protection, and i am just worried that i may have herpes now, i do not want to go to a professional, cuz these bumps dont look serious……help?

  27. Jack says:

    I just found out that I had herpes 2 by a blood test, but I don’t know who I got it from. I have never had any symptons. I had a blood test last March that was negative. How long does it take from the initial infection for it to show up in the blood?

  28. TJ says:

    Can you get herpes from fingering a girl? She takes Valtrex everyday and didn’t have any sores (and hadn’t in a while). I didn’t do anything more than that and was wearing a condom (because we considered sex, but then didn’t). She said “shes sure I’m fine” but I’m just worried still. It’s been 4 days and I have no symptoms but stress and me making a big deal about every little pain.

  29. Georgina says:

    I was in a really messed up state and I’m alway careful but I had a one night thing with a guy that I kind of know and 4 days later I have these bumps there not like blisters but they do kind of itch if they’re irritated I’ve never had them before but I have had a cyst or however it spelled a year ago. I’m afraidnto go to the doctor cause I’m away at school and it’s uncomfortable and I don’t want to find out the worst :(

  30. I have ben merry to my husbon for 16 years and he all the sundn say he as herpes how long can it go dowrmet or can it and if it dos can you get it .

  31. john richter says:

    i luv boys with herpes

  32. kayla says:

    Ohk I just found out I have herpes, I’m 6 months pregnant and like 3 days after me and my boyfriend had sex I started breaking out. Does that mean he gave it to me?

  33. Curious says:

    Ok, I was diagnosed with herpes2 several years ago Before my husband. But never had an outbreak after the first one. My husband has herpes 1 that got it from his mom many years ago. He gets outbreaks rarely but were careful when he gets them. I was with a woman a while back and all we did was oral on each other but that was several months ago because she moved away. Recently her husband cheated on her and she got tested, she came up positive for herpes but with no outbreaks.she had bloodwork done.so here are my questions. 1. Can you test for herpes through bloodwork? 2. Could I have given it to her?

  34. Lucky to be loved says:

    If you contract the virus will you definitively have your first outbreak with in the month of catching it? I hv never had any out break and then a couple weeks after i was with this guy i was dating i had one, but I had not had sex in six months prior to him. He says that he didnt hv it, but when i told him I found out i did he didnt act surprised. He says that he went to get checked (2 months after i found out) and the doctor told him that he is a carrier but he can not pass it. Is that true that you can have it and not pass it? And if I had had it before him wouldnt i have had my first outbreak long before? Please help!!!

  35. Renee Conlin says:

    So I just found out I have herpes today. My partner thinks his mother had Type 1 because he remembered her ALWAYS getting cold sores. A week ago he gave me oral sex. This past Thursday my vagina skin was irritated but I thought it was just from my pads because I had my period this past week. Then my partner and I had sex Saturday.
    Today I went to my health service and said they are pretty sure I have herpes. And an hr ago my partner showed me how he thinks two herpes are growing on his penis now. So did I just give him Type 2?
    and now what do we do, can we not do oral sex or have sex unprotected anymore??
    (ps I’m on birth control and he pulls out)

  36. Bitchnumba1 says:

    I need summ dickkkk right away

  37. hypochondriac says:

    Hi, uhmm ok i have one little bump and its not ON my vagina but its like on the part where the hair grows :P lol and it’s just one, it doesn’t itch but it hurts a lil when i touch it. and it’s super small. im wondering could this be herpes? ive already made a doctors appointment and im waiting to go. but in the meantime im freaking out!!! :( does this mean ill never find love :(

  38. lc says:

    I found out I have herpes a week ago. Prior to 2011, I had never had any symptoms. I have been married 34 years. Can it take that long to have symptoms? My husband first had a sore on his penis shortly before I started having the problem on my buttocks. If you both have herpes, will having sex make the problem worse?

  39. elsie says:

    Is it possible to not have symptoms for over 34 years? I have been married 34 years. My husband had a sore on his penis. I developed one on my buttocks. It went away and then has returned a couple of times since. I had blood work and was told I had been exposed to herpes. Also, if we both already have herpes, will having sex at this time make it worse or have no impact? (I have never had any other symptoms prior to 2011)

  40. ola says:

    when never i used malaria medicine immediatly i used it the heard of my penis and my lips we stated paining me ……plz what is the solution to it ..thanks

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