Herpes Simplex Infection

What is Herpes Simplex Infection?

Herpes Simplex Infection (HSV) is a very common virus that affects humans. Both the virus type 1 (HSV-1) and virus type 2 (HSV-2) cause the same infection. HSV-1 is mainly transmitted by oral-to-oral contact while HSV-2 is mainly transmitted through sexual contact. Infection by HSV is quite common and up to 70-80% of the population may be infected by HSV-1 and up to 20-25% by HSV-2.

Signs and Symptoms of Herpes Simplex Infection

Infection with HSV often does not cause any symptoms and may go unnoticed. When symptoms are present, they can include the following:

  • Painful, burning, or tingling sensation near the site of infection.
  • Small, fluid-filled blisters that break open and form painful, open sores.
  • Flu-like symptoms including fever and swollen lymph nodes.
  • Itching and discomfort in the genital area.


HSV infection is usually diagnosed through physical examination of the affected area, as well as laboratory tests that look for HSV antibodies in the blood. It is important to note that the presence of HSV antibodies does not necessarily indicate active infection, since the antibodies may remain in the blood for months or years after a person has been infected.


Treatment for HSV infection typically involves the use of antiviral medications, which can reduce symptoms and shorten the duration of the infection. It is important to follow the advice of your health care provider when taking medications for HSV infection. Over-the-counter pain medications and topical ointments may also be used to reduce discomfort and promote healing.