Peer Health

Herpes

Herpes (from the Greek word “to creep”) is caused by the Herpes Simplex virus, a tiny mysterious organism. The virus enters the body through the skin and mucous membranes of the mouth and genitals, and travels along the nerve endings to the base of the spine where it stays. There are two types of Herpes Simplex viruses. Type I is characterized by cold sores or fever blisters on the lips, face, and mouth. Type II usually causes genital sores. While Type I is usually found above the waist and Type II below, there is some crossover, primarily due to oral-genital sex.

Herpes cannot be cured. There are, however, drugs available which can speed the healing of any given outbreak of sores, reduce the pain of blisters and reduce the length of time a person is contagious after an outbreak.