Herpes II

What is herpes II?

Herpes II, more commonly known as genital herpes, is from the herpes simplex virus family and is a chronic long-term condition. This virus causes painful blisters on the genitals and surrounding areas and is transmitted by having any form of sex.

How common is herpes II?

Genital herpes is a common condition, especially in the age group of 20-24 year olds. Approximately 25% of sexually active people in the UK have genital herpes, although it is estimated that only 1 in 4 of these will be diagnosed.

In the United States, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 776,000 people get new herpes infections each year.

How is herpes II passed on

People get the virus II by having any form of sex with someone who has herpes II. This includes:

  • Unprotected vaginal sex
  • Unprotected anal sex
  • Unprotected oral sex
  • Sharing sex toys

It can also be passed on from an infected mother to her child during birth.

Transmission can occur even if your sexual partner is not currently showing any signs of the virus.

What are the complications of herpes II?

Herpes can cause problems during pregnancy, the severity of which depends on whether herpes was already existent or if it was contracted for the first time while pregnant. Herpes in neonates is serious and can in some cases cause death. Outbreaks are recurrent, causing painful sores to appear.

What is the difference between herpes I and herpes II?

Herpes Type I usually causes small, painful blisters on the lips, mouth, gums or skin around the mouth, commonly known as cold sores. Herpes II causes painful blisters on the genitals and surrounding areas. Although both highly contagious, type I and II are different strains of the virus within the same family.