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Herpes simplex type II

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Updated: 4/11/2007 5:49 pm
Herpes simplex type II (two) is the virus most often responsible for genital herpes, and the two terms are often used interchangeably. However, you should realize that herpes type I, or oral herpes, can also cause sores in the genital area by transfer during oral sex with an infected individual. Herpes type II, or HSV-2 (H-S-V two), is considered a sexually transmitted disease and may be spread through any skin-to-skin contact. Condom use won't necessarily prevent the transmission of herpes because sores may be present outside the genital area. Furthermore, the infection can be passed on even in the absence of active sores. In addition, most infected individuals don't even know they have herpes. The disease has risen markedly in the last decade, especially among those in the 12-to-19 age group. An estimated one in five Americans over age 12 are infected with HSV-2. Most will have no obvious symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they may include painful genital lesions (LEE-zhuns), swollen lymph glands in the groin area, fever, urinary pain, and flu-like discomfort. Infections with HSV-2 are more likely to recur than those with oral herpes, though over time, outbreaks tend to become less frequent and severe. Still, the herpes virus remains in the body forever.
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