Herpes/Cold Sore is a common disease in the United States caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) or type 2 (HSV-2). The CDC estimates that about 776,000 people yearly in the United States get infected. HSV-1 is mainly transmitted by oral-to-oral contact to cause oral herpes (cold sores), but can also cause genital herpes from oral to genital contact. HSV-2 is almost exclusively transmitted sexually, causing infection in the genital or anal area. Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 infections are lifelong.
Herpes is a viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus, which is transmitted through direct contact with an infected person's skin or bodily fluids. It can cause cold sores or genital herpes. There is no cure, but antiviral medications can help manage symptoms. Prevention involves practicing safe sex, avoiding contact with open sores, and not sharing personal items with an infected person.
Oral herpes caused by HSV-1 and 2 are particularly contagious during an outbreak but can also be transmitted when the cold sores are not visible. Infected people should avoid oral contact, and not share objects that have had contact with their saliva. They should also abstain from any unprotected sexual activity, especially while experiencing any symptoms or having a fever blister.
The signs and symptoms of herpes can vary depending on the location of the infection and the type of herpes virus.
Effective medications recommended for treatment of oral herpes are antiviral medications. These medications can prevent cold sores or shorten outbreaks. Daily suppressive therapy can also reduce the likelihood of transmission to partners.
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