Genital Herpes Essay

1052 Words5 Pages
I have infected 45 million Americans and will infect 1 million more Americans each year. Who am I?
Herpes, from the ancient Greek meaning to creep or crawl, is the name of a family of viruses of which herpes simplex virus 1 and herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2) are the most serious human pathogens. HSV-1 is normally associated with orofacial infections and encephalitis, whereas HSV-2 usually causes genital infections and can be transmitted from infected mothers to neonates. Both viruses establish latent infections in sensory neurons and, upon reactivation, cause lesions at or near point of entry into the body.
While HSV-1 and HSV-2 are different viruses, under a
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These signs can last from two to three weeks. The early symptoms can include an itching or burning sensation; pain in the legs, buttocks, or genital area; vaginal discharge; or a feeling of pressure in the abdominal region.
Within a few days, sores (also called lesions) appear at the site of infection. Lesions can also occur on the cervix in women or in the urinary passage in men. These small red bumps may develop into blisters or painful open sores. Over a period of days, the sores become crusted and then heal without scarring. Other symptoms of a first episode of genital herpes can include fever, headache, muscle aches, painful or difficult urination, vaginal discharge, and swollen glands in the groin area.
Anyone infected with either virus can experience flare-ups. In people who have healthy immune systems, a herpes flare-up usually lasts a few weeks. In people with compromised immune systems the herpes sores can last for longer than a month. In a very small number of cases, herpes can spread to other organs, including the eyes, the throat, the lungs, and the brain.
HSV-1 and HSV-2 look identical under the microscope, and either type can infect the mouth or genitals. Most commonly, however, HSV-1 occurs above the waist, and HSV-2 occurs below the waist. Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 live in nerve cells, usually under
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