What causes herpes skin disease?

Gladiatory herpes (herpes mate) is a skin infection caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-), the same virus that causes cold sores. In the United States, 30 to 90% of people are exposed to herpes in adulthood, although many people never have symptoms. Herpes simplex viruses are transmitted from one person to another through close contact. You can get the herpes simplex virus by touching a herpes sore.

However, most people get herpes simplex from an infected person who doesn't have sores. Doctors call this “asymptomatic viral spread.” Herpes is a common virus that can cause blistering sores on the skin. They tend to develop around the mouth or genitals, but can appear almost anywhere on the body. The virus that causes genital herpes is usually transmitted from person to person during vaginal, oral, or anal sex.

The virus can enter the body through a break in the skin. It can also enter through the skin of the mouth, penis, vagina, urinary tract opening, or anus. People can get infected again by touching a sore and then scratching or rubbing another area of skin on their body. People with cancer, HIV or AIDS and anyone who has recently received an organ transplant should seek urgent medical attention if they think they may have herpes.

These contagious viruses are transmitted through skin-to-skin contact with a person who has an outbreak of herpes. For example, the symptoms of oral herpes tend to go away in 2 to 3 weeks, while the symptoms of genital herpes usually go away in 2 to 6 weeks. Once the virus enters the body, it invades the nerves that supply the area of the skin it affects and stays there for life. Once a person is infected with the herpes virus, they will have the infection for the rest of their life.

Herpes is contracted by touching an herpetic sore or the skin, lips, genital fluids, or saliva of a person with an oral or genital herpes infection. Anyone who suspects that something other than herpes, such as dermatitis, shingles or scabies, is causing their rash can talk to their doctor about the diagnosis. Herpes viruses spread when they come in contact with broken skin or with the mouth, vagina, penis, or anus. You can get herpes when one of the herpes simplex viruses enters through your skin and reaches your nerves.

That's why it's extremely important not to kiss or have sex with anyone when there are herpes sores. If you're pregnant and have genital herpes, or if you've ever had sex with someone who has, see your doctor. In fact, oral herpes is often contracted during childhood due to direct contact with sores (for example, when a parent gives their child a kiss) or objects that are contaminated. If your partner has herpes and you don't, make sure you always use condoms during sex.

There is currently no cure for herpes, but the sores usually go away on their own within a few weeks. Anyone with a long-term health condition or a weakened immune system who thinks they may have herpes should talk to their doctor.