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What is Herpes Type 2?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 29 March 2014
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Herpes type 2 is one class or category of the condition known as herpes Simplex. Both herpes type 1 and type 2 share a number of common characteristics, although herpes 2 is normally associated with the development of any sores found below the waist, while herpes 1 is generally thought to occur around the mouth and on the lips. However, there are examples of both herpes 1 and 2 developing at various locations on the body.

For the most part, herpes type 2 is thought to be transmitted only by some type of sexual contact. This includes any type of sexual practice or play, and can involve partners of any gender or orientation. Though anyone who engages in sexual activity with a partner who is already carrying thisvirus may become infected whether his or her partner is symptomatic or not, using safe sex practices and immunosuppresant therapy may reduce the chances of this happening.

When an outbreak of herpes type 2 occurs, blisters develop around the genitals, rectum and sometimes the lower abdomen just above the genital area. The blisters are sometimes itchy and in time split open, leaving sores that are open and may leak secretions carrying the virus. In decades past, there was little to do other than make the individual as comfortable as possible until the sores healed. Today, however, there are several prescription medications that can shorten the duration and weaken the severity of an outbreak.

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As with many viruses, there are a number of conditions that can bring on an outbreak of herpes type 2. A prolonged illness that has weakened the immune system can lead to the development of blisters and the subsequent eruption into sores. Being run down and failing to get adequate sleep can also set the stage for an outbreak. For women, there is an increased possibility of an outbreak during menstruation. For both genders, any drug that tends to suppress the normal function of the body’s immune system may set the stage for the virus to surface.

It is important to understand there are no cures for herpes type 1 or herpes type 2. Once the virus is contracted, the individual will deal with the condition for the remainder of his or her life. The best that can be hoped for is to use medication to control the frequency of the outbreaks and provide a degree of protection for any intimate partners.

There is a common misconception that it is impossible to transmit herpes type 2 unless the infected partner is currently experiencing an outbreak. In fact, both forms of the herpes virus can be transmitted when there are no sores currently present. For this reason, it is very important for individuals to be frank about their sexual history and general state of health before engaging in any type of intimate activity with another person.

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Discuss this Article

anon320415
Post 27

As I am sure most of you are, I am very sceptical about people writing on forums, especially when they endorse a particular product. However, I would like to emphasise that I am not affiliated with anything which could affect you or your condition. I am here simply to tell you what I believe helps and what I believe doesn't.

For the past 10 years I have suffered with both types of herpes and only in the last year did I decide and have the opportunity to try to do something about it, with positive results. Most people agree it is about living a moderately or increasingly healthy lifestyle: eat well, sleep well, avoid drugs, tobacco, etc.

Well, I have always done this and have never smoked or taken drugs. I find that alcohol is an instant way to become very unhealthy and makes one prone to attacks. Regardless of what you may read about the benefits of wine, it is complete nonsense. Avoid all alcohol at any cost.

I brought a gadget called Virulite. I did not read about it or see it on TV. I just saw it on the counter in a chemist when I went in to buy some other meds. It was 28 euros where I live. I had never heard of it.

I think this has worked really well to prevent any attacks on my face for the past year. You need to always use the highest strength battery you can find (usually + or plus)

I have always eaten quite well every day: fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, mostly in salad form, but I have always had a really bad sweet tooth. Since last September, I have made a conscious effort to not eat any sugar (there is no such thing as good sugar; it's all bad), and I think this has had a major effect on my health in a positive way. I still eat fruit and make mixed fruit and vegetable smoothies (All fruit smoothies have too much sugar).

Chocolate is especially bad because of the cocoa, so avoid chocolate. Again, despite what you read about the health benefits of cocoa, it is all complete nonsense made up in order to sell more chocolate. White chocolate is not so bad but has a lot of sugar, so it is bad for you in general. I did cut down a little on my red meat, but this was more due to my cholesterol level.

I use a sunbed from time to time and have not noticed that this brings out any attacks. Sometimes I can do it two or three times in a week with no problems. I also spend a lot of time in the sun during summer, again, with no noticeable negative effects. I have not taken any acyclovir tablets or used cream, or taken any L-lysine, which some say helps prevent attacks. When I used to take it, I did not find that it helped.

Anyway, for the past six months I have not had any attacks. I put this down to: no alcohol, no sugar and virulite. I do sometimes get stressed and sometimes do not have many hours of sleep, but this does not seem to affect me. I go to the gym and play football quite regularly.

I occasionally lapse and tuck into some ice cream, but found this did not have any negative effects. It was only when I drank alcohol, like red wine and whiskey with coca-cola, that I had almost immediate outbreaks. I first thought it was the coca-cola but just drinking wine had the same effect. It once happened when I ate a take away burger within an hour.

If your lifestyle is not particularly healthy, then experiencing cold weather when you are tired or have not eaten properly, will, of course, leave your body very vulnerable to attacks and this is why we call it a "cold-sore" because we experience them more often during and associate them with cold weather.

But we must look at this in a positive way because having herpes in your system is like having a health monitor. If you can keep attacks away, then you are living a healthier lifestyle than if you are getting repeated attacks. Remember: our body is in a constant battle against aging, disease and life itself from the moment you are born, so try to to do the best you can do, to assist in the battle. Stay positive and good luck.

anon317929
Post 26

Lots of good info on this page but I have been living this nightmare for four years. Let me tell what I found: none of the pharmaceutical solutions work. They just mask the symptoms and give you side effects (headache dizzy sick feeling).

The herbal approach is o.k. but also not completely effective. I heard of Viradux-AU and it actually is the only thing that has worked. I am outbreak free for 17 months and before I never went one month without an outbreak. It probably doesn't work for everyone but it is the only thing that helped me.

anon315108
Post 25

Getting diagnosed with herpes can be the worst moment of your life. However, in order to safely and confidently date with genital herpes, you should definitely know a few things. There are websites that can help you deal with and overcome any issue which genital herpes might create in your dating life.

So take a deep breath, and realize that taking little steps every day will help you recover and heal from this experience. And I promise: you will find happiness again.

anon314462
Post 24

I just found out about 20 minutes ago that I tested positive for HSV 2. My symptoms were typical, but I still want to get a second opinion just to be sure.

The sense I get from reading lots of things about herpes 2 is that mental state is very important when it comes to suppressing the virus. I noticed that my symptoms were getting worse when I was freaking out, but actually improved quickly when I forced myself to calm down.

I feel pretty terrified and isolated right now, and as I was waiting for the results, was having fantasies that it was just a nasty rash, but now I have to face the truth and accept that this will be a part of my life. At least it will force me, and us, if the reader also has it, to live a consistently healthy lifestyle and have integrity in our relationships.

Do not tell someone you don't have it and have sex with them! I'm a law student and read a case about that -- you can be sued for tons of money if they get infected! Just thought I'd mention that. Good luck everyone.

anon274892
Post 20

Advice correction:

Just wanted to correct my last post. I said that citrus fruit is good, but I may be wrong, One school of thought is to avoid very acidic foods, and to increase the body's alkalinity.

I also thought I should write a list of foods to avoid: Coffee, processed foods, sugar, cola drinks/soda, chocolate, too much salt (buy low sodium salt, or even better if you can afford it, Himalayan mountain salt). Don't eat too much meat, and animal products including dairy. Cut down. Avoid junk food/fast food.

anon274888
Post 19

Some advice: Herpes, whether it type 1 or 2, affects the skin, and like other skin conditions, when you are stressed or run down, you are more susceptible to outbreaks. Having herpes in itself is very stressful, as is having to come clean about having type 2 to a partner. That is something that needs to be done immediately. Bite the bullet and tell your partner, so you can get on with concentrating on accepting you have the virus and living again.

This is going to sound very odd at first, but what I have found is that the age-old holistic idea of loving your illness works really well for herpes. Herpes thrives when you are stressed, and makes you stressed, so by loving it you take away its power.

What reasons are there to love herpes, you might ask? Well, it teaches you to live stress free, it makes you more healthy, because you eat better (more on this later), it makes you into an honest person, and more confident (telling potential partners is a brave thing to do), it will make you confront emotional issues you have, in order to be free of stress and pain and it will teach you that, in order not to have breakouts, you have to enjoy your life more.

If you find it hard to love the virus, then start off having respect for it. It is very clever, and knows that by making you feel down, it can manifest, and get passed on.

Diet: What you are looking to do is keep a good balance of two amino acids: L-lysine, and L-Arginine, Herpes thrives and manifests when you body does not have enough L-lysine, and too much L-Arginine. What you will find is that green vegetables like broccoli, leeks, beet greens and spinach have roughly equal parts L-lysine and L-Arginine, and are very good. Try to increase the amount of fruit you eat, too. Vitamin C is very good for your immune system. If, like me, you are not that keen on citrus fruit, get a juicer and make nice tasting drinks that are easier on the palate. Carrot, orange or apple and ginger is lovely.

You can buy L-lysine in tablet form from health food shops, I don’t take it daily, but if I am feeling run down, or feel an outbreak coming on, I dose up on it.

Try to drink more water, give up smoking (I recently did that by switching to e-cigarettes), and cut down on alcohol intake, and definitely consider stopping, or reducing taking recreational drugs if you use them.

Start to learn what you body is telling you, and recognise when you are flushing the virus, and are likely to transmit it, and abstain from sex during this period. If you are female, learn your cycle, since there are parts of your cycle when you will be infectious.

Learn to communicate to people about herpes by first telling a few close friends. Be sure to tell them all the positive steps you are taking, and how you are winning too, to reinforce it for yourself, and to build confidence for telling a potential partner.

None of the above is a cure, but if done correctly, it is possible to live symptom free. Many people already do.

Good luck all, and don’t let it stop you from loving life.

anon264620
Post 18

I just found out I have herpes Type 2. I am majorly freaking out. I've never had an STD. I'm 23 and now I do not know how to tell my fiance or what he's going to do or say. I'm scared he will leave, and we've been trying to get pregnant, too. Any help on telling him? Suggestions would be great.

We were apart for about four months and I slept with a couple guys and just recently got blood work done. I don't know if I have it or who gave it to me, or if my fiance did, or if I've given it to him now. I'm so confused and mad and sad.

anon256342
Post 17

I just found out yesterday that I have herpes type 2. I've been with two people whom I loved very much. I know I either got it from my last boyfriend who was messing around behind my back, or from a guy who had sex with me when I was very intoxicated and couldn't even move or talk.

I feel like my life is over and haven't stopped crying since yesterday. I don't even know how to cope with this. I feel like I will never meet anyone now, and I'm only 19. I feel so disgusting. Does anyone have advice on how to deal with this?

anon252254
Post 16

@saifotobi: Did you test type specific test for herpes in BD? Where did you this and what is the test name?

anon211167
Post 15

I found out that I have herpes type 2 and it was very devastating to me, but I learned to accept it and I hold my head up high. Although I am more careful when it comes to sex. Otherwise, I am still the same person. to all of you who have to let herpes take over you. be strong.

anon182333
Post 14

I just found out that I have type 2, genital herpes. I could not believe that I got it from someone that I have been with. I texted and called all of my partners and let them know and most of them are really mad at me. O.K., first of all, one of them gave it to me. Second of all, they aren't innocent in having unprotected sex with me -- they think they are clean as well.

However, it could be the person who is most mad at me who gave it to me. I am very hurt and realize that it is most likely going to affect every aspect of my sex life. I can just be safe in the future, however, even condoms aren't going to be enough.

anon178389
Post 13

I have just found out that I have type 2 hsv. I am devastated as well. I have been cautious, but I believe I have slipped up with a new partner.

I am married, but my husband has been incarcerated for like four years and I had not been involved with anyone. I never cheated and he was the only one I had been with for over six years. I found that he was not getting out any time soon and kept messing up in jail and decided to start seeing an old friend and that lead into something. We were protected and then in between, well we weren't. My conscience ate me alive and I got tested and was called today and told I had type 2. My question is: I have gotten tested before my hubby went in and at least a year or more after and asked the doctor to test for everything in in case he had something previously. I had been negative everything the entire time.

I find out that just because I told them to test everything that herpes was not one that was tested. I am now confused on how to determine if my hubby had it all this time or if the new partner did. I was not given a culture; they just did blood work. I really need some guidance on how to deal with this even though I have not had any outbreaks. Should I expect them?

saifotobi
Post 12

I am from bangladesh. I have HSV-1 and 2 with diabetes. If you want to control your herpes, please try the herb (guduchi) Tinospora cordifolia. It works.

anon162639
Post 10

I just found out an hour ago that I have herpes type 2. I'm devastated. Is there a way they can tell how long you've had it?

anon161157
Post 9

I just found out i have type 2 herpes and have had it at least four years. my doctor misdiagnosed me all those years. In fact, he didn't even bother doing any tests just told me it was a rash and it would clear up. I am with someone now whom i told right after meeting because I would hate to go through the motions only to tell him later and waste his time and mine. he was very receptive and asked questions and still accepted me into his life. He is well aware of the risks. If people can't accept you with it, that's their loss. doesn't mean we are bad people.

anon158504
Post 8

I don't know how to deal with having herpes type 2. It disrupts my life in a big way. I don't know how to be intimate with my partner, as I believe his cheating is what gave it to me. Hard to deal. Get tested even if you are married!

anon143845
Post 7

i just found out i had type 2 herpes today i don't know what to do, how people would react if i told them etc. I feel absolutely awful about it.

anon142368
Post 6

I have just found out that i have the type 2 virus and that i have actually had it since i was a child. It has been passed from my mom's side of the family and i feel so depressed because i had no idea all this time and now i don't know how to deal with this! Please pray for me!

anon125895
Post 5

i am 18 years old and i just found out i have herpes type 2. I'm not sure if my boyfriend gave it to me or i gave it to him, but we both got tested and this is what it came to.

It's very hard to deal with at this moment knowing that i have to live with it all my life, but i thank god it's nothing worse than this. I'm really not sure how to deal with it, but i am keeping myself updated on the latest news about it.

We are going to stick through this together he and i, but our sex life is not the same because of this. We keep ourselves very safe. we are now taking our pills to clear the outbreaks. i want to know is there something that can cure the outbreaks? can someone please answer if you know.

anon118535
Post 4

I just found out i have Herpes type 2 also. I don't know how to deal with this but the information on this site is very helpful.

CellMania
Post 3

I'm not sure about one that will test for all STD's. Walgreens carries an "at home" test kit for HIV. It is $59.99.

StormyKnight
Post 2

I have read up on genital herpes testing because I would like to be tested. Isn't there some kind of OTC test that you can buy now?

anon91539
Post 1

I just found out I have herpes type 2, genital herpes. I thought I was cautious, and who knows how long I have had it or who else I gave it to.

Just get regular check-ups and continue to be safe; it's the only thing you can do.

This information is very useful, even for those who don't have it. It is good to be able to identify if someone else has it, whether they know it or not.

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