Herpes Simplex 2 is shorthand for Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2, or HSV 2. There are two strains of the Herpes Simplex Virus: HSV 2, and Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1, or HSV 1. When a Herpes Simplex 2 infection presents obvious symptoms, which it usually does not, the symptoms are most likely to be an outbreak of blisters in the genital area. Because Herpes Simplex 2 typically presents symptoms in the genital area, Herpes Simplex 2 infection is often referred to as genital herpes.
It’s thought that twenty percent of adults in the U. S. have Herpes Simplex 2 infection, though some estimates put the infection rate at twenty-five percent of U. S. adults. Whatever the actual number, Herpes Simplex 2 infection is becoming increasingly common. One likely reason for the increase in Herpes Simplex 2 transmission is status ignorance: an overwhelming majority of Herpes Simplex 2 infected people - eighty percent or more - don’t know they’re infected. This sheds light on one of the myths of genital herpes: that it is a highly symptomatic condition, with gruesome outbreaks. The dramatic images of genital herpes outbreaks that one may come across are actually the exception, not the rule.
It used to be thought that Herpes Simplex 2 infection could only be transmitted during an obvious outbreak, but research has demonstrated that the Herpes Simplex 2 virus can be present on the body surface even when the classic symptoms of an outbreak aren’t occurring, and when the virus is present it is transmittable. This appearance of Herpes Simplex 2 virus in the absence of identifiable outbreak symptoms is referred to as viral shedding. Some herpes researchers question whether viral shedding isn’t actually just an outbreak, minus some of the more classic outbreak symptoms. In any event, the consensus is that Herpes Simplex 2 is transmittable at potentially any time, because of viral shedding.
Some would attribute the increasing rates of Herpes Simplex 2 infection to transmission during viral shedding, but this is questionable. There is considerable ignorance about how the symptoms of Herpes Simplex 2 typically present themselves, and the uninformed often associate genital herpes infection with obvious blistering outbreaks. So the slight discomfort or itch or unusual appearance in the genital area is not genital herpes but jock itch, or an ingrown hair, or shaving irritation. Additionally, people typically presume - incorrectly - that genital herpes symptoms always appear within a few days after infection. As stated previously, the large majority of people with Herpes Simplex 2 infection don’t recognize symptoms at all; and it’s possible for someone to recognize genital herpes literally years after they were infected with it. This ignorance about actual Herpes Simplex 2 symptoms and infection time line may be the most significant factor in increasing transmission rates, not viral shedding.
Get more information at genital herpes symptoms and genital herpes pictures .