Causes of Genital Herpes

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Herpes simplex virus either on the surface of the skin or in the mucous linings of the areas that it infects, is the cause of genital herpes. Type 2 is the main cause of genital herpes. Type 1 causes cold sores around the mouth and although it is a less common cause of genital herpes, if you have a cold sore and then perform oral sex, then you can pass on the virus to the genital area, which can cause genital herpes.

Type 2 herpes simplex virus is the most common cause of the infection and it spreads via skin-to-skin contact in the secretions from the genitals or from the mouth. It resides usually in the mucous linings, which it can pass easily through when they come into contact with other skin or it can reside on the skins surface itself. It is also found in the blisters and fluid of the sores during an occurrence so therefore; coming into contact with these fluids will allow the virus to move onto your skin.  It can also enter through breaks in the skin. The virus can be passed on from fingers if you touch the infected area and then immediately touch an area of your partner. It ca also be transmitted by sharing sex toys. The virus does not usually survive for very long outside the body so it is not passed on toilet seats or towels.

Once you have been infected, the virus will cause a number of symptoms that usually appear 2 weeks after infection. These include fluid filled blisters around the genitalia and other areas that have been infected. Usually it will take another two weeks for these symptoms to disappear, during which time you will experience a lot of discomfort and irritation from the blisters. They rub on your clothes, hurt when you urinate and can become infected by other bacteria.  Some people do not experience any symptoms and this may be because of viral shedding- this is where the virus is essentially shed from the skin before it has chance to infect the areas.

What makes this infection such an aggravating condition is that once you are infected, you may endure numerous episodes, all of which are painful and cause discomfort. The virus has a novel way of hiding from your immune system so that it is not eliminated. When it becomes dormant, it hides in your nerves so that the immune system cannot easily reach it. It will stay there until another outbreak is triggered which is usually by stress or injury.  These reoccurrences are not as severe as the previous outbreaks due to the fact that your body’s immune system has built up antibodies in order to deal with the virus.

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