Herpes is a broad term that is used to describe the two incurable viruses that cause sores on the mouth or genital area. Oral herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus – 1 (HSV-1) and genital herpes is caused by herpes simplex virus – 2 (HSV-2). Although HSV – 1 generally affects the area of the move and HSV – 2 generally affects the area around the genitals, either disease could be transmitted to the other area of the body. The disease is spread through intimate skin to skin contact during a time when the afflicted person is shedding the disease. Although they are often symptomatic at this time, this is not always the case. Avoiding intimate contact while you are displaying symptoms can help to curb the spread of the disease but since it can also be spread when a person is not displaying symptomatic, many people unknowingly pass on the disease.

The Symptoms of Herpes

Since herpes is an incurable disease, it is always present in the afflicted person but they may not always be symptomatic. An outbreak is the term used to describe when a person with herpes is showing symptoms of the disease. In some cases an outbreak may be triggered by stress but other times there is no obvious cause for the outbreak. The symptoms of herpes vary between those that are caused by the HSV – 1 virus and those that are caused by the HSV – 2 virus. The symptoms of the HSV – 1 virus are sores around the mouth and nostrils that are often referred to as cold sores. These sores are often painful and itchy. The symptoms of the HSV – 2 virus usually begin with small red bumps on the penis in men or near the vagina in women. These red bumps may also be present near the anus or on the perineum. The bumps develop into blisters and then become itchy and painful. These blisters will heal without leaving a scar. It is wise to avoid intimate contact from when the first symptoms appear until they completely disappear to avoid spreading the disease. An additional symptom of genital herpes may include painful urination or defecation.