Genital Herpes

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  • Topic: Herpes simplex, Herpes simplex virus, Virus
  • Pages : 5 (1583 words )
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  • Published : March 31, 2008
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Genital Herpes

The history of herpes begins as early as ancient Greek times. Hippocrates speaks of the condition in his writings. Even the word “herpes” is a Greek word that means “to creep or crawl” which is the way that the Greeks described the way that skin lesions spread. In Roman times, the emperor Tiberius tried to stop an outbreak of mouth herpes by prohibiting kissing at public events and ceremonies. Soon after Tiberius, a physician named Celsus suggested that herpes be treated by cauterizing the sores with a hot iron. It is unknown how long Tiberius’ ban on kissing lasted or how long Celsus’ treatment was used, but both seem to have ended pretty quickly. Later in history, Shakespeare is believed to have had knowledge of the virus. In his play Romeo and Juliet he talks about “blisters plagues” which scholars believe refers to the herpes virus. There are also medical journals from the seventeen and early eighteen hundreds that discuss this disease. During this time there was also a lot of speculation as to what caused herpes – one of the most notable was the suggestion that herpes was caused by insect bites. Obviously, the history of herpes contains a lot of misconceptions. However, this information doesn’t really tell us when or where the history of herpes started. The origin of herpes in humans is unknown. Some scholars believe that it has been around since the beginning of the human race. In more recent times, there started to be recognition of genital herpes history and the way that the virus spreads as early as the 1900s. Studies began to define various strains of the virus and in 1919 a man by the name of Lowenstein confirmed scientists’ suspicion that herpes was infectious. Before this time, people were unsure that herpes was a virus – in fact, many considered it to be like other common skin conditions, such as eczema, which cannot be transmitted. Studies of herpes continued into the twentieth century and scientists were able to begin identifying various strains of the virus. Genital herpes history continues as scientists and physicians continue to study it and search for ways to minimize its’ effects and the chance of transmission.

Genital herpes is a highly contagious sexually transmitted disease. Genital herpes is often called a silent condition; most of infected people have minimal or no signs or symptoms. It is also silent in another way, too: almost one out of every five people in the U.S. has genital herpes, but shame keeps many of them quiet. The cause is a strain of the herpes simplex virus. This virus enters your body through small breaks in your skin or mucous membranes. The illness is characterized by pain, itching, and sores in your genital area. Sexual contact is the primary way that genital HSV (herpes simplex virus) spreads. It is almost impossible to get the infection through contact with toilets, towels, or other objects used by an infected person, because the virus dies quickly outside the body. HSV affects both men and women. There is no cure for the chronic infection, which may cause embarrassment and emotional distress. Having genital herpes is no reason to avoid sex or give up on relationships though. If one partner is infected, one can manage the spread of HSV by taking the steps to protect one self and his/her partner.

In the past ten years, the number of people in the United States who are infected with HSV has decreased. However, genital herpes is still common. There are between 50 and 80 percent of American adults who has HSV-1 (Planned Parenthood).

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 or type 2. Most genital herpes is caused by the HSV-2. Most individuals have no or only minimal signs or symptoms from HSV-1 or HSV-2 infection. When signs do occur, they typically appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals or rectum. The blisters break, leaving tender ulcers (sores) that may take tow to four weeks to...
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