The herpes simplex virus, or herpes, is categorized into 2 types: herpes simplex virus type 1 (hsv-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (hsv-2).
Hsv-1 is mainly transmitted by oral-to-oral contact to cause oral herpes (which can include symptoms known as “cold sores”), but can also cause genital herpes.
Hsv-2 is a sexually transmitted infection
that causes genital herpes.
Both hsv-1 and hsv-2 infections are lifelong.
Antiviral medications, such as acyclovir
, and valacyclovir
, are the most effective medications available for people infected with hsv. These can help to reduce the severity and frequency of symptoms, but cannot cure the infection
Individuals with genital hsv infection should abstain from sexual activity whilst experiencing symptoms of genital herpes
. Hsv-2 is most contagious during an outbreak of sores, but can also be transmitted when no symptoms are felt or visible.
The consistent and correct use of condoms can help reduce the risk of spreading genital herpes. However, condoms only provide partial protection, as hsv can be found in areas not covered by a condom.