003: #askalexandra What Is Herpes?

Ask, Answer and get the facts #askalexandra


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Welcome to Life With Herpes and our weekly #AskAlexandra show! If you have a question you want answered on an episode just like this one send me an email, leave a comment here or connect with me on social media. You can ask and remain anonymous, be sure to tell me and I won’t give your name!


On episode 3 of the podcast, we’re talking about herpes, and what it is exactly. John from Norfolk Virginia wrote in with this great question, find out my answer on today’s edition of Life With Herpes.


More About Life With Herpes


John’s question is a good one; we hear the word herpes but most of us don't know what it is exactly. So I'll break it down for you: it's a sexually transmitted disease (STD), and it's the most common and the most contagious of all STDs in the USA.


There a lot of different types of herpes but the one we are talking about today is the herpes simplex virus (HSV), and it’s two types: HSV1 and HSV2. According to the CDC (Centers For Disease Control) about 1 in 6 Americans between 14 and 49 years of age have HSV2, and 2 out of 3 have HSV1.


HSV1 is commonly known as cold sores, fever blisters, or oral herpes. Typically it is what is found around your mouth. A lot of people get this even as early as childhood, often having it passed on to them from a family member. It is transmitted from skin to skin contact.


HSV2 is commonly known as genital herpes: vagina, penis, anus, and areas around. It is most commonly transmitted through any type of sex: oral, vaginal or anal.


Now let’s talk about what happens when you have a herpes outbreak: you get painful blisters that pop up. I joke that when I touch my blisters I can feel it in my toes! It's a joke but the point is the outbreak is extraordinarily painful. These blisters can break open and are then called lesions. Lesions can take from a few days to 2 weeks to heal, these are similar on the mouth and the genitals.


The herpes virus has been around for millions of years; I have an upcoming episode with a herpes expert who says the virus has been with us as long as we humans have roamed the Earth! Stay tuned to this show for that insightful and scientific look at herpes, and listen in to the rest of today’s episode for more news about having herpes (including the good news!). It’s all here on today's edition of Life with Herpes.

Tweetable:  “Herpes is the most common and most contagious of all STDs.” - Alexandra Harbushka



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