Herpes simplex viruses are widely stigmatized and widespread. However, there are social and emotional attitudes that surround both HSV1 and HSV2, but they are wildly different. Furthermore, the perception of these attitudes alone may create a substantial objective difference between HSV1 and HSV2. HSV1 the commonly oral herpes and the HSV2 the usually genital herpes viruses are worth noting their attributes.
Under the scientific microscope, genital herpes and oral herpes viruses look almost identical. Additionally, both viruses have practically similar genetic make-up but different DNA segments making them have significant differences in virus behavior and appearance.
The Basic understanding of HSV1 and HSV2
HSV1 and HSV2 herpes viruses are found worldwide with HSV-1 being the most common. According to study over 67% of people aged below 50 years have oral herpes. However, HSV-1 of genital herpes virus is less common affecting only 11% of people aged between 15 to 49 years. But the infection rate does vary significantly from each country, although HSV1 infection rate proves to be consistently high worldwide.
Both genital herpes and oral herpes are long-term infections without any available and known cure. However, both viruses have a variety of affordable, safe and highly effective’s medication that keeps them under control. Let’s explore more on the critical differences between oral herpes and genital herpes. And it ranges from transmission to areas they affect in our bodies.
The Basic of Oral Herpes (HSV1)
The HSV1 virus infects an own mouth and lips causing cold sores to develop. It’s a common virus transmitted through contact with infected parents and other members of the family. And it’s usually transmitted during childhood. Most the individuals with oral herpes are asymptomatic meaning that they carry the virus. Also, they can become potentially widespread to other people, but they do not have any evident and visible symptoms.
HSV1 causes herpes outbreak of herpes around the mouth mostly referred to as the cold sores. Between the explosions, the herpes virus rests dominantly in the body trigeminal ganglion, a particular group of body nerve cells found near the ears. It causes a tingling, burning and itching sensation around or in the mouth causing blisters to appear.
While the HSV1 virus dominantly affects the mouth and lips, it may also spread also to the private parts resulting in genital herpes. Oral herpes usually does spread to individual sexual organs through oral sex. Additionally, it can cover without or with visible symptoms.
The Main Basics of Genital Herpes (HSV2)
The HSV2 infects the person genitals hence causing the development of lesions around and on the anus and genitals. Moreover, it’s a virus transmitted through various sexual activities. Also, it may also spread from mother to the child during the childbirth. Unlike the HSV1 that covers to the genitals, it is scarce to have HSV2 spreading to the lips and mouth. HSV2 dominantly affects people genital lesions. Like HSV1 most people with HSV2 do not experience any symptoms and are always unaware of the infection.
Its only 10-20% of HSV2 infected people who claim to have noticed symptoms and signs of genital herpes. And this is before getting tested and being informed of their infection status.
Between the major outbreaks, the genital herpes virus stays dormant in a person body. The virus infects the lower spine cluster of nerve cells known as a sacral ganglion. And it’s known to affect mostly the women than men according to the latest studies. Its estimated over 287 million women have an HSV2 comparison to 150 million men affected worldwide. The main reason for the high infection of women is because the virus can quickly spread from men sexual organs to women. And this is due to anatomical differences.
Symptoms of Oral Herpes and Genital Herpes
HSV1 and HSV2 have almost similar symptoms and signs. However, since the two viruses infect different parts of a person body, the main symptoms are exclusive to mouth and lips and genitals.
The HSV1 Symptoms
The HSV1 mostly produces cold sores. Individuals infected with HSV1 viruses start with an initial outbreak shortly after they contract the virus. Additionally, it is usually an intense outbreak characterized by flu-like and cold sores symptoms.
The initial outbreak of oral herpes may last for about two to three weeks starting with the development of sores. And it leads to breaking open of the wounds and spreading of the infectious fluids before it eventually heals.
After the initial trigger, the HSV1 viruses may reoccur due to various reasons like stress. For some people, the outbreak may be frequent while for others they may experience epidemics after certain events.
The HSV2 Symptoms
HSV2 exclusively causes genital herpes. After an individual get infected with a genital virus, they undergo the initial outbreak. The symptoms include sore on the upper thigh, groin, anus and genital area. The explosion may also cause nausea, glandular swelling, fatigue and headache. For most people suffering from HSV2 does mistake the symptoms as flu before they realize its genital herpes lesions. Just like the HSV1, the first initial symptoms outbreaks last for at least two to three weeks. But most people with HSV2 do remain unaware of the infection.
The Main Differences between HSV1 and HSV2
The main difference between oral and genital herpes is typically where the virus does establish its latency in a person body. HSV1 remains its dormancy in the base of neck nerve cells. Additionally, it has viral shedding and the outbreak occurring on the face or mouth.
Conversely, HSV2 does establish its latency in the base of spine nerve cells. Moreover, from the spine, it recurs around the genital area. However, both of the viruses may reside in both genital and oral areas.
HSV1 may also tend to be riskier than the HSV2 since it has spontaneously spread and manifest leading to blindness and may cause a neurological disorder. Additionally, both viruses do affect pregnant women. Moreover, the HSV1 has a higher risk of transmission to the baby with a rate of 30-50% while the HSV2 rate of affection is 1%.
Treating Oral and Genital Herpes
Both HSV1 and HSV2 are inexpensive and easy to handle. The most commonly used drugs for both herpes are antiviral medications like acyclovir and valacyclovir. The antiviral medicines do work by preventing the viruses from developing, helps in controlling the outbreaks and it reduces the infection risk.
Finally, both types of herpes cause a significant psychological and social impact. HSV1 causes visible sores it may affect an individual quality of life and confidence. And the HASV2 may result in loss of different sexual self-confidence.