There are two types of herpes virus infections, and they confuse everyone. So here is information and facts to clarify the two infections. It's important to know the difference.
HVS-1: a viral infection usually found on the face, lips and mouth. It is called herpes simplex, oral herpes, or fever blisters. It is more common than the HVS-2 infection.
HVS-2 or Genital Herpes: infection is spread through sexual intercourse or oral sex with an infected partner.
Either HVS-1 or HVS-2 can be the cause of sores on both face and genitals. This fact most people don't realize. So how do you know which kind you have? That is the hard part.
Genital Herpes or HVS-2: Being female; having multiple sex partners; unprotected sex; experiencing sexual intercourse at a young age; having sexually transmitted infections; and poor immune function. One of every five women will have problems with genital HSV-2 infections. Only one in nine men are diagnosed. This figure may be much higher since many people are carriers and don't show symptoms. It may be that women are more prone to infection because of the nature of our anatomy. Women are also more prone to candida infections as well.
HVS-1 or Fever Blisters: Most sores found on the mouth are from the HVS-1 virus. It is also called oral herpes, mouth herpes or herpes simplex labialis. It is passed by kissing, by touching skin that is infected, or using someone's lip balm, silverware, or razor. You usually contract the HVS-1 virus in your system as a child from your mother or siblings. Mothers can pass the HVS-1 virus to their babies by a kiss. Poor immune function, stress, and sun exposure cause the flareup of the virus which is ever present in the nerve tissue. Having a partner prone to mouth blisters increases the problem. Most people don't think much about mouth sores but they are very contagious and painful.
Symptoms: Both HVS-1 and HVS-2 sores look the same. The main difference is on what part of your body they most often occur. The infected area becomes tender, feels raw, may burn, itch, or tingle before the sores emerge on either the face, lips, mouth or genital areas. They are painful and weep after several days. Healing can take several weeks. Outbreaks usually lessen as time goes on. They spread easily so try not to touch them. Wash your hands after touching the sores or applying medicine. Try to apply medicine with a cue tip, not your hands.
How is it diagnosed? It takes blood tests or a sore swab test taken during an outbreak to know for sure. Either herpes virus can be on either the mouth or genitals. If it is only on the mouth and happens with sun exposure it probably is HVS-1. If it usually occurs on the genital areas it probably is HVS-2.
Dating and HVS-2 Infections: If you have been dating a man with diagnosed HVS-2, you can end up with the HVS-2 virus during sexual intercourse, oral sex or kissing. A latex condom is not completely effective. Even if he does not have an active outbreak, he is still carrying the virus in his system. You may not experience an outbreak, because of your immune system, but you can become a carrier of the HVS-2 virus. You will not know it unless you have blood tests or an outbreak.
Do I Tell? I had a female friend call me after breaking up with a man she loved. They had been together for years. She had expected to marry him. He was a HVS-2 carrier with periodic outbreaks. He dumped her. She wanted to know if she had to tell future men she dated about his HVS-2 infections. Yes, you do need to tell your date if it turns serious where it involves sex. You need to be honest. Not all people want to take the chance of exposure. If you do not have herpes, you need to think seriously about the issue for your own health. The longer you are with someone who is a carrier, the higher the risk factor for you. Do you love him enough to take the risk? How would it affect your life if you got infected, then broke up? That happens all the time. You do have a choice when presented with the knowledge. If you have a great immune system, you will not experience the sores but may end up a carrier. If you have a partner later who has a poor immune system, they are at great risk for herpes and outbreaks.
If you have either herpes virus, you should not be kissing, having sex, or drinking off the same cup. Either of them can be given to your partner or children.
Sun Poisoning: I get sun poisoning. I have had that problem all my life. I am prone to third degree burns and have no ability to tan. I have scars on my nose and lips from burns. Needless to say, I did not wear sun block soon enough. It usually happens when I am caught out in the sun when I didn't expect to be. I can remember ending up at a swap meet with no hat. I really paid for the visit. Any time I get burned on my face and lips, my lip breaks out in blisters within a day or two. I don't get them any other time. I can bank that if I don't intercede with medicine, that three days after my lips get burned they will break out in cold sore blisters. They take weeks to heal unless I treat the problem right after the burn.
Sun poisoning causes other symptoms than just fever blisters. When I get sun poisoning, I feel sick for two or three days just like when you have a full blown viral infection. I feel like I have a cold without all of the symptoms. You may have fatigue, headache, fever or chills. I always hated hats but I wear one now when outside. I avoid sleeveless shirts or shorts. Beach trips and outside work are for early morning or late afternoon. My bathing suit stays in the drawer. Skin exposure is avoided when possible. Wearing sunblock is a must. Sun poisoning can lead to scars on the lips which are not pretty. That compromised skin tissue is more prone to skin cancer when you get older. Sun poisoning is not anything to take lightly.
Genital Herpes and Pregnancy: Herpes can be passed on into your baby during childbirth. This can cause the newborn to get sick. They may opt for a C-section to avoid this problem. It is important to tell your doctor if you have had outbreaks, even if it had been years ago. You need to tell him if you think you might be a carrier of the virus.
A Forever Problem: Herpes virus remains in your system no matter what antiviral medication you are given. Antiviral medicines such as Acyclovir, Famciclovr, and Valacyclovir relieve the symptoms and help prevent and lessen herpes outbreaks. The infection can still be transmitted to your partner at any time. Herpes does not lead to life threatening diseases but certainly gets in the way of relationships and enjoyment of life.