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8 Types Of Herpes Virus

types of herpes

Types of Herpes

Herpes is a viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. It is a common condition that triggers the development of sores and blisters, usually seen on the mouth and genitals. Its symptoms can be painful and annoying; however, antiviral drugs are available to alleviate the signs and bodily reactions of this infection.

Unlike other curable infections, herpes is a chronic type. It means that it can stay in your body for life. Since there isn’t still a cure for this infection, antiviral drugs are used to reduce and minimize the outbreak of herpes. The virus stays dormant in the body for a long time and reactivates due to health conditions like a weakened immune system.

There are different types of herpes. Each of them may share similar symptoms, but their impact on the body can vary. The following includes the types of herpes, from the most common down to the least known viral infection.


Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1)

Also known as oral herpes, HSV-1 refers to an infection transmitted by oral-to-oral contact. Although it is mostly asymptomatic, oral herpes can include symptoms like open sores, ulcers, and painful fever blisters. These symptoms can reoccur periodically, which may vary from one person to another. HSV-1 can also cause genital herpes if someone infected performs fellatio or oral sex.


Herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2)

Also called genital herpes, HSV-2 is a sexually transmitted infection. One of its symptoms includes the appearance of sores in the vulva, vagina, cervix, anus, penis, scrotum, and inner thighs. Studies suggest that people who experience recurrent genital herpes are at risk of acquiring HIV (human immunodeficiency virus).


Human herpes virus 3 (HHV-3)

Also called varicella-zoster virus, HHV-3 is responsible for the development of chickenpox. It can also cause a recurrent virus skin infection called shingles or herpes zoster. Similar to HSV-1, herpes zoster targets the skin and its nerve cells. It is even more severe compared to herpes simplex infection.


Human herpes virus 4 (HHV-4)

The Epstein-Barr virus, or HHV-4, is a major type of infection transmitted through saliva. It causes mononucleosis, or the kissing disease, which symptoms include headache, skin rash, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue.


Human herpes virus 5 (HHV-5)

CMV, or cytomegalovirus, is a common virus of the herpes family. Like other infections, it can spread sexually. It may not also cause symptoms; however, it can cause problems for newborns, people with a weakened immune system, and people with HIV.


Human herpes virus 6 (HHV-6)

This particular virus causes roseola, a contagious illness common in small children. It can cause a high fever associated with skin rashes. Although it is part of the herpes family, it is not deemed severe because medications can easily control it. Symptoms like mild diarrhea and decreased appetite may also happen during a roseola outbreak.


Human herpes virus 7 (HHV-7)

Although studies are still underway with regard to HHV-7, this viral infection is quite similar to HHV-6. It can also cause roseola in small children with symptoms noted for HHV-6. Other medical conditions for this type of infection are still unclear.


Human herpes virus 8 (HHV-8)

Also called Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpes virus, HHV-8 is a viral infection that can cause tumors in the skin. Besides Kaposi sarcoma, HHV-8 can also cause other cancers like lymphomas (cancers involving the lymph node).

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