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Sexual health and LGBT population
Living with HIV
Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)
Herpes viruses are very common in our society and are responsible for many types of diseases i.e. chickenpox or varicella and mononucleosis are caused by viruses belonging to the herpes virus family.
The virus that causes herpes, which affects the mucous membranes of the mouth or genitals, occurs in one of two types: HSV-1, or herpes simplex type 1, and HSV-2, or herpes simplex type 2. Between 98% and 99% of typical cold sores on the mouth are caused by the type 1 herpes virus. As for genital herpes, between 20 and 40% of cases (depending on the study) are caused by type 1, and 60 to 80% are caused by type 2. Consequently, type 2 herpes primarily affects the skin of the genitals.
The common denominator when exploring herpes viruses is that they have the ability to recur, or come back. They are viruses that gain access into our bodies via breaks in the skin or mucus membranes (thin linings of the mouth or genitalia). Contrary to common belief, herpes infects the nerve responsible for sensation in the region afflicted. It is able to house itself in the center (ganglion) of the infected nerve and sleep (latent phase). When it wakes up (recurrence) it replicates or reproduces and travels down the nerve to the skin where the virus creates the damage evidenced by blisters, sores and wounds (more on that later).