Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) is a skin infection that is often a source of worry for many people.

cold-sores

What is it?

HSV is a viral skin infection that can be split into two different groups; type 1 and type 2.

Type 1 is commonly seen as cold sores around the mouth, much like the picture above. It is passed on through direct skin contact (primarily kissing) and is possible to pass on even when the infected person has no symptoms. This is why this type of Herpes infection is so common.

Type 2 is usually seen around the genitals and pelvic area. Again, it passed on through skin contact which happens most often during sexual intercourse.

What are the symptoms?

Common symptoms with HSV include small clusters of blisters that may burst to form small ulcers. Typically they can be quite painful, producing a burning sensation on the skin. Remember, though, not everyone has symptoms. Some even go through their entire lives without symptoms despite being infected.

Tests?

If symptoms are present we can perform a swab test to identify type 1 or type 2. This usually takes about a week to run and is very accurate. Blood tests can also be performed but is often less accurate.

Treatment?

Unfortunately there is no cure for herpes (not yet anyway) but it can be easily managed. If a flare up occurs then treatment with tablets is often all that is needed to ease the symptoms. Sometimes flares can occur so often that taking treatment every time is not feasible. This is where suppression treatment is helpful. Suppression involves taking a single tablet once daily for several months. This reduces the activity of the virus meaning you should remain symptom free while on medication.

For more information please contact us or visit us in clinic.