Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 (HSV2):
Your Questions Answered!

HSV 2. It’s probably the one infection that you don't see coming but hear about quite often. Because of the bad stigma associated with the infection, most people, once getting infected, feel like they are somewhat beyond redemption.

But this should not be the case.

In a lot of ways, having herpes infection will indeed change how you view yourself, but this need not be in any way negative. A lot of people infected with herpes, whether it's by HSV 1 or HSV 2, have found no cause to repine with their new states of health.. and so should you.

With the proper knowledge and a positive outlook, you will be able to get past this infection and be just as happy as you were before you even got it, if not happier.

So you might have experienced all the signs and symptoms of herpes. Or you may have just been diagnosed with herpes.

If you're seeking for answers, you've come to the right place. We've compiled some commonly asked questions and answers related to HSV-2 below.

How is HSV 2 any different from HSV 1?

Herpes Outbreak

(A picture of a Herpes Outbreak)

Unlike the herpes simplex type 1 virus which prefers the oral area, herpes simplex virus type 2 is known to infect primarily the genital area. This is because the HSV 1 and HSV 2 have different preferences as to where they establish their latency. The former remains dormant among the nerve endings of the mouth area while the latter lodges itself among the sacral / hip region nerves.

Does this mean that it’s impossible for oral herpes to be caused by HSV 2?

Unfortunately, there have been numerous studies suggesting that although herpes simplex type 2 primarily infects the genital area, there can be some instances – about 20% - that HSV 2 can cause infections in the oral area. This happens when a person performs oral sex on a partner with genital herpes (HSV-2).

Is there still a chance of getting HSV 2 even when I'm not sexually active?

Although the herpes simplex type 2 virus is generally transmitted through sexual intercourse, the virus can also be spread by other means including skin-to-skin contact with an infected person during their shedding phase, and even by kissing.

Some even reported having acquired the virus through sharing of personal items. People who are infected with the virus aren’t always aware that they have the infection, so they may not have visible sores on their skin or their genital area. This doesn’t mean that they are not contagious!

What is genital herpes exactly?

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection that causes painful sores in the genital area, transmitted through vaginal, oral, or anal sex, especially if you’re one to practice unsafe sex. 

Studies have suggested that genital herpes is becoming more and more common nowadays. In the United States alone, about 16.2% of the population already have the virus.

That means that about 1 in every 6 people tested would give a positive result to a herpes test. In fact, the infection is most common among those aged 14-49.

Ok. So I’m infected. What’s the cure?

Unfortunately, there is currently no cure in existence that will be able to forever rid you of the infection. This means that if you ever get infected, you have the infection for life (at least for now, or until a cure is developed).

While it is true that the virus can lay dormant for long stretches of time, the virus can cause an outbreak from time to time, especially when you are ill or stressed.

However, there are medications that are readily available that can help lessen the severity and the duration of the outbreak.

Should I still take medication even if I'm outbreak-free?

Herpes Medications

As mentioned above, there are medications that you can take in order to shorten the duration and severity in which your outbreak will be active.

If you noticed that you’re not having outbreaks frequently, then it is safe to just take medication during the times that you have outbreaks.

However, if you were having frequent outbreaks, then it would be best to take medication daily to suppress and prevent the outbreaks from happening.

A thorough discussion with your physician will give you much needed information about the different treatment options you can take.

What can I do to prevent outbreaks?

The same triggers that causes HSV 1 to recur also apply to HSV 2 infections. So you would do well to prevent yourself from getting stressed out, protecting yourself from the elements, watching the food that you eat, and of course, preventing over irritation of your skin so as to avoid any reinfection. Although the outbreaks can be suppressed, and in fact can remain dormant for many months (or years), you will not be able to totally prevent the outbreaks from occurring once you have the virus in your system.

I've written a survival guide that you might find very helpful. It contains lots of useful advice on living and dating with Herpes, as well as  information on the different treatment options for Herpes. 

I still have more questions...

Although the herpes virus is sure to stay inside your body for life, there is no need for you to be wary and stop enjoying life as you have before. A lot of people live with the herpes infection and are able to do the things they like on a daily basis. 

If you are still confused and have more questions in mind:

  • How about posting your concern on our Herpes Advice Forum? You will read many helpful tips and advises there!
  • Or you might want to read through or share your own Success Story? Many of our visitors have done so already. Your story just might help someone going through a similar phase.

Keep a positive outlook on the infection, and you will find that it's not as bad as you thought it would be.

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