Herpes simplex is one of the most common infections of mankind throughout the world.
There are two main types of herpes simplex virus (HSV): type 1, which is mainly associated with facial infections and type 2, which is mainly associated with genital infections.
These viruses cause lifelong infection with potential for reactivation or recurrence.
Often people refer only to HSV-2 when discussing genital herpes but both types can cause infection in the genital area.
Clinically, about 60-70% of primary genital infections are due to HSV-2 with the rest due to HSV-1.
Both type 1 and type 2 herpes simplex viruses reside in a latent state in the nerves that supply sensation to the skin.
With each episode of herpes simplex, the virus grows down the nerves and out into the skin or mucous membranes where it multiplies, causing the clinical lesion.
After each episode it "dies back" up the nerve fiber and enters the resting state again.
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