What is HSV?
HSV or commonly called Herpes Simplex Virus is a two-strand (HSV1 and HSV 2) type that penetrates the body via mucous membranes. Generally, the membranes are located near the genitals or the area around the mouth. Upon entering the body, Herpes Simplex Virus attacks nerve cells (primary sensory neurons) that are located close to the surface of the skin. Herpes is usually contracted either orally or genitally. Currently, there is no cure for Herpes Simplex Virus.
Herpes Simplex Virus strands differ in the area of attack on the body. However, both strands contain a similar DNA makeup. The type 1 virus normally attacks the cells closet to the ear. Once an attack has begun, the HSV enters the nerve cells, settling in the lowest layers of the skin’s tissue. The virus then begins replicating itself within the nucleus of the cell, destroying the cell host. In return, the attacked cells cause an outbreak that appears near the mouth in the form of inflammation and blisters. Conversely, type 2 Herpes will rest in the area near the base of the spine causing outbreaks near the rectum or genitals.
While both types of the virus are localized in different areas, it is possible to spread the virus from either area to either area. This often results in more painful and numerous concurrent outbreaks. The virus is never fully relinquished from the body. After an active period of outbreaks, usually lasting 3-14 days, the particles of the virus are passed on to the ganglia, where the virus rests dormant.
The rate of recurrence in HSV nearly doubles depending on whether type 1 is present or type 2. With type 1, the virus recurs around 20-40 percent after an initial outbreak is experienced. However, with type 2, the rate rises to a recurrence rate of 80 percent. Males with genital Herpes often experience a 20 percent higher recurrence rate than females with the same type.
Transmission of both types of the virus happens when asymptomatic carriers or unknowing carriers experience viral shedding. Shedding occurs during reactivation, when the viral mucous membranes or skin is exposed to other skin openings on the body.