The herpes virus carries a stigma. While various labels are crucial for basic understanding, not every type of herpes is an STD. Most individuals who carry HSV acquired the virus through non-sexual acts.
The definition is determined by the action. If you currently have herpes and the viral transfer took place during sexual activity, then you have a sexually transmitted disease. While this is nothing to be alarmed about, the definition applies based on the action.
No matter how HSV entered your body, there is no medical cure for the virus. From innocent kissing to oral sex, there is no escaping the fact that the virus is with you forever. But, over-the-counter (OTC) treatments and prescription medications can be used to reduce the symptoms.
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The difference between HSV-1 and HSV-2 primarily involves the area of the body that’s affected. But, even the position can blur the lines at times.
In general terms, HSV-1 is oral herpes. Blisters that form on the lips and mouth are the most common type of herpes. These are referred to as cold sores or fever blisters. Typically these sores are born from non-sexual transmission of the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1).
Although HSV-1 can cause genital herpes, in most cases blisters on the genitals are caused by HSV-2. Blisters that develop on the genitals, rectum and various locations below the waist are often attributed to HSV-2. Viral transfer primarily takes place during sexual activity.
If you have acquired the herpes simplex virus due to sexual activity, you have an STD. That is the most simplistic explanation.
While both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be transmitted via saliva, the way you acquired the virus defines the STD aspect.
If you have a cold sore on your lip, you likely do not have an STD. If the viral transfer did not take place during a sexual act, you have HSV-1.
It is critical to realize that HSV-1 and HSV-2 will reside in your body forever. Whether your cold sore is from oral sex or kissing someone on the mouth, the virus has no cure. This is why avoiding known viral triggers, such as stress and illness, is critical.
While the majority of cold sores (lip and mouth) are not STDs, that does not mean you should let your guard down. It is always good to be proactive. You can limit the chances of future cold sore outbreaks if you stay on top of your condition.
You can give your partner HSV through the act of oral sex. HSV on the mouth that is transferred to the genitals results in the transmission of HSV-1. In this case, HSV-1 would be classified as an STD because viral transfer took place during a sexual act.
If you have HSV-1 and your partner is free of the virus, you can spread it to either their mouth or genitals. Transfer to the buttocks and legs is also possible. Activity such as this can explain why some individuals have cold sores near their mouth and their genitals. All of which are classified as HSV-1 and could have taken place during the same sexual encounter.
In recent years, the medical community has noticed a spike in genital herpes caused by HSV-1. Individuals are either giving their partner oral sex while an active blister is present or during the tingle stage before the appearance of a visual sore.
Blisters caused by the herpes virus have many names. Most of those names are given as a result of their location. Sores on the mouth are often called cold sores or fever blisters. Sores on the genitals are called genital herpes. However, the blisters (more or less) look the same.
Because location plays such a huge role, the terminology is introduced as a way of avoiding confusion. While HSV-1, for example, can be found on both the mouth and genitals, each location is given a unique name.
The final stage of the cold sore cycle is the healing stage. This stage is defined by the scab falling away and being replaced by a fresh and tender skin. It is only at this point that cold sores are no longer contagious.
Contrary to popular belief, the scab stage is not the end of the journey. Just because your fever blister is covered with a scab does not mean the virus has been shielded from others. You can still transfer the virus during the scab stage. You can also make things worse if your scab comes off prematurely. Until the area returns to how it looked before the blister formed, you are not out of the woods.
Listed below are some of the most things you can do to avoid viral spreading:
While many people acquire HSV-1 at a young age, individuals over the age of 18 often fall victim to the virus. The basic rule is that HSV-1 affects people above the waist and HSV-2 affects people below the waist. They are different strains of the same virus. Most of the time, they are transferred from person-to-person in different ways.