Herpes simplex virus type 2 HSV2 is one of two types of the herpes virus and is rarely transmitted orally. People with compromised immune systems in particular may be at risk. HSV2 is a sexually transmitted virus that causes sores and blisters known as herpes lesions. In order to be infected with HSV2, there has to be skin-to-skin contact between an infected person and a partner. HSV2 is not transmitted through semen. Once HSV2 enters the body, it travels through the nervous system to the spinal nerves, where it typically comes to rest in the sacral ganglia, a cluster of nerve tissue located near the base of the spine.
Herpes infections are very common. Fifty to 80 percent of American adults have oral herpes HSV-1 , which causes cold sores or fever blisters in or around the mouth. Genital herpes infections can be asymptomatic, or can show up as outbreaks of blisters or sores. These common viral conditions are transmitted through intimate person-to-person contact. In the case of HSV-1, kissing or oral sex can spread the infection to another person, while HSV-2 can be contracted through vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has the virus. A mother infected with a herpes virus can transmit the virus to her baby during birth if the virus is active at that time.
Cold sores are not something most people think to tell their potential sexual partners about. Additionally, researchers estimate that nearly million of these are genital HSV-1 infections. While most genital herpes cases are caused by herpes simplex virus type 2 HSV-2 , genital HSV-1 has been on the rise due to suspected increases in oral sex. HSV-1 and HSV-2 are part of the larger family of herpes viruses, formally known as Herpesviridae, of which chicken pox and shingles are also members.
According to the World Health Organization , 3. Another million people 11 percent between ages 15 and 49 worldwide have herpes simplex virus type 2 HSV But genital herpes is sometimes the exact same virus — just in a different location.