It is common to worry after you find that you have genital herpes, but you are not alone, millions of people have it. Unfortunately, 80% of the individuals who have genital herpes are unaware of the infection. That is the reason genital herpes can be transmitted so easily unknowingly and is the most common cause of ulcerative genital disease. Once you have acquired have genital herpes, it stays inside you all your life, there is no cure. But the good news is that it can be treated and managed effectively. So, the BIG question is, how do you get genital herpes?
How do you get genital herpes?
You get genital herpes when you come in contact with the individual who carried the Herpes simplex virus. There are two types of Herpes Simplex virus; herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). HSV-2 is the most responsible for genital herpes (90%) and around 10% of the cases are due to HSV-1. Though HSV-1 contributes less, recently there is much increase in rate of primary genital HSV due to HSV-1. Majority of HSV-1 infections are acquired in childhood and HSV-2 infection is acquired when individual gets sexually active.
Transmission from mother to her baby has been reported but is uncommon. Usually transmission occurs during labour, delivery, transplacentally or after birth from mother secretions. If the baby is born during the mother’s first episode of genital herpes, the baby can have serious problems.
Initially virus gain entry through mucous membrane like oral, vaginal and penis. Soon after, virus attack the area and replicate itself, in a meantime it gain access to nerve cell end-plates and through nerve axon, it then travel to more deeper nerve cells and finally stays in regional dorsal root or ganglions. HSV-1 is thought to reside in the trigeminal ganglion and HSV-2 resides in the sacral ganglia. The virus remains dormant for lifelong or may reactivate again at any time. Infections caused by HSV-2 re-activate approximately 16 times more frequently than HSV-1 genital infections, and average 3 to 4 times per year. Recurrences tend to be more frequent in the first months to years after first infection.
The rate of re-activation of HSV appears to be influenced by the quantity of latent viral DNA in the ganglia. In addition, several host factors can influence the re-activation listed below:
Excessive exposure to ultraviolet irradiation
Excessive cold (hyperthermia)
Physical or emotional stress
Can you get genital herpes from kissing or oral herpes?
Though transmission usually occurs during ano-genital contact, it can also occur during oro-genital contact. Usually Hsv-1 is transmitted through mouth to ano-genital areas. HSV-2 rarely transmits from ano-genital area to mouth. This means if you have oral herpes (cold sore) and you perform oral sex, you can spread HSV-1 to your partner genitals — and cause herpes sores on the genitals.
Who are likely to get genital herpes?
Multiple sex partners
Early sex at young age
Have other sexually transmitted disease
Have poor immune system due to disease or drugs
As it’s an important public health issue and a medical condition which may affect ones sexual life and cause significant psychological and social distress to individual, so every preventive measures like restricting multiple sexual partner, screening and safer sexual activities must be practiced. Early diagnosis and treatment may prevent from complications, its recurrence and chances of transmission to another individual.
1.fitzpatrick dermatology in general medicine 8th edition [/expand]