Herpes Simplex II

Herpes Simplex II

Also known as
Genital herpes

Caused by
Herpes Simplex Virus—Type II. (Herpes Simplex I typically infects the region around the mouth and is the cause of cold sores. However, Herpes Simplex I can also cause infection in the genital area, while Herpes Simplex II can cause infection in the oral region.)


Over one in six Americans are infected, with an estimated half-million new cases diagnosed each year.

For reasons not entirely clear, women tend to have more severe symptoms than men. Women also much more commonly develop internal sores. The first symptoms are generally itching and burning, but this is soon followed by actual blisters. Many individuals also have other symptoms such as fever, neurological pain, loss of appetite, and fatigue. The blisters begin as a group of small, red, painful spots which then become yellow blisters. The blisters eventually burst, leaving painful ulcers that eventually heal in about ten days. After this, the virus becomes latent (dormant), but symptoms can reoccur with varying frequency for the rest of one's life; however, the first outbreak is usually the most severe.

Symptoms generally appear 2 to 21 days after exposure but the virus can lay dormant for months or even years, and then activate suddenly. Many individuals, especially men, can be infected and infect others without noticing any symptoms. After the initial outbreak, there can be additional outbreaks which vary in frequency for the rest of an infected individual's life, although some individuals never have a second outbreak.

Visual inspection by physician combined with laboratory analysis of infected tissue.

The most serious danger posed is that to a child born to an infected mother. Infection can be passed during birth. Such an infection can cause fetal malformation, blindness, or even death. If herpes blisters are present, because of the serious threat they cause to the health of the infant, a cesarean section is usually performed. In addition, the open sores created by an outbreak are susceptible to bacterial infections. It is also possible to spread the infection to other parts of the body (such as the eyes) if one is not careful.

There is currently no cure for herpes. A number of anti-viral drugs (both oral and topical) exist, however, that can lower the viral activity in the body, thus making outbreaks less frequent and intense. The bulk of treatment involves attempting to relieve discomfort and preventing the spread of the virus to other parts of the body or to others. Although infection can occur even when there is no obvious outbreak (due to viral shedding), it is especially important that during an outbreak all contact with the infected area and others and your own mucous membranes be avoided (wash your hands after any contact).

penis with herpes