Herpes Simplex (HSV) is a virus unique to humans. Two types exist: Type I causes fever blisters and Type II causes genital infections. Twenty-five percent (one in four) of sexually active women, and 20 percent of men, will become infected with Herpes Simplex Type II (CDC, 11/96) and 500,000 new cases are reported each year, with at least 45 million Americans diagnosed with HSV-2 (CDC, 1/98). That is, 1 of every 5 Americans over the age of 11 already has the Herpes II virus due to sexual contact.
The number of herpes cases in white teens was five times greater in the 1990s than it was in the 1970s.
Once contracted, this virus remains dormant in the nerve ganglions of the pelvis and periodically erupts in painful blisters and ulcerations in the genital area, tongue, eyes, lips, fingers or other body parts. Both males and females will usually suffer from occasional outbreaks, which seem to occur due to stress.
Once a person is infected, the Herpes II virus can be transmitted before symptoms occur and even when blisters are not apparent. It is a virus and highly infectious.
Herpes II is essentially incurable. Anti-viral medications have been used to control the symptoms and decrease the number of outbreaks; but, these drugs do not eliminate the virus from the body or prevent transmission to sexual partners. This virus can be transmitted to a baby via vaginal delivery; a C-section will often be performed to avoid this.
Also, according to ongoing research, HSV (Herpes Simplex II) can increase the chances of acquiring HIV (AIDS).
HIV and HSV then interact on the cellular level: HIV increases the number of herpes outbreaks per year by 2-4 times, and herpes speeds the progression of the HIV -> AIDS in the person’s body.