Herpes infections are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). They are very widespread in the population. In most people, the disease is well suppressed by the immune system, they never feel anything. In some individuals, e.g. with a cold, there may be temporary activation of the pathogens, usually as “cold sores” in the mouth and facial area. Very rarely, severe signs of disease may occur, almost only in (severely) ill persons especially in immunosuppression.
Most diseases are caused by HSV type 1, with which the majority of the population is infected (many already as children, through smear infection). New occurrence of genital herpes may indicate a new infection with herpes simplex type 2, acquired through sexual contact. After the new infection, further relapses are often absent or much weaker.
Signs of disease with herpes in the genital area
Most often, pinhead-sized burning and itchy fluid-filled blisters appear on the skin, often grouped like flowers. After two to four weeks, they usually heal on their own. Mucous membranes may also be affected. Rarely, flu-like symptoms may be added.