Herpes type 2 (HSV 2)

Herpes type 2 is one of two types of HSV (Herpes Simplex Virus). The virus is also known as HSV-2 and differs slightly from HSV-1. It is also called genital herpes or herpes genitalis, which is considered a harmless viral infection. Herpes genitalis is usually considered a sexually transmitted disease. However, it is not listed among notifiable diseases regulated under the Public Health Act.

Infection and symptoms
HSV-2 is highly contagious and it is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. In most cases it is transmitted during sexual intercourse, since HSV-2 usually attacks the genital area and the area around the anus. The virus is considered highly infectious. Once the virus infects the body, it will stay in the body permanently.

After exposure to the virus, many people experience a so called primary infection which is typically associated with sores on or around the genitals or the anus. During a primary infection some people experience pain in the groins or a mild fever. Not all infected individuals experience a primary infection or show any symptoms at all, but they can still pass the disease on to other people.

May be reactivated anytime
Since the virus stays in the body permanently, it may be reactivated and cause outbreaks from time to time. Most outbreaks occur when the body or the immune system is weak. The virus causes outbreaks more often during the first five years after exposure to the virus. After that outbreaks occur less frequently.