Is A Cold Sore The Same As Herpes?

Genital herpes “appears to be on the rise among adolescents because they’re having oral sex instead of intercourse.”

Everyday Health – Cold sores don’t carry the same stigma as genital herpes.

But strains of the same herpes simplex virus cause cold sores on the lips (and face, chest, even the fingers), as well as blisters around genitals.

In some cases, the virus strain that causes cold sores can also cause serious eye and brain infections.About 50%-80% of American adults have oral herpes; 20% have genital herpes.

Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) usually occurs above the waist (generally through kissing or sharing eating utensils. Herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) usually occurs below the waist (generally through sexual contact).

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But you can get either virus in either area through oral-genital contact.

“People aren’t as embarrassed to say, ‘I get cold sores,’ but fewer people are apt to bring up that they have genital herpes, although both of them could be in either place,” Dr. Updike says.

Genital HSV-1 actually appears to be on the rise among adolescents, Dr. Comrie says, “because they’re having oral sex instead of intercourse.”

The fix: Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be treated with antiviral medications. But neither is curable. Read more. 

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