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What Is Herpes?

Frequent Questions

What Is Herpes?

There are 2 main strains of Herpes - HSV1 Oral Herpes and HSV-2 Genital Herpes.

The herpes simplex virus (HSV) is categorized into 2 types: HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 is mainly transmitted by oral-to-oral contact, causing oral herpes (including symptoms known as cold sores), but it can also lead to genital herpes. HSV-2 is a sexually transmitted infection that causes genital herpes.

Studies show that about 1 in 7 Canadians carry the herpes simplex virus (HSV). It is very likely you have already encountered someone with the virus as not everyone knows they have it. It is important to know that herpes is extremely manageable and has little impact on day to day life. Having herpes does not mean someone is “unclean” or “unsafe” but it is important to communicate and be aware of the risks. Always ask more questions if you are not sure and don’t be afraid to do your own research.

Herpes can be carried orally, better known as cold sores, or genitally and both can be transmitted interchangeably. There’s no reason to panic though as the risk of transmission is very low as long as your partner is not having an active outbreak. Most people with HSV know what it feels like and won’t take any chances if they think they might feel an outbreak coming on.

Herpes Infections are only transmitted during an active outbreak when the contagious area of the skin contacts the mucous membrane or a crack in the surface of the other persons skin. Herpes can also be transmitted asymptomatically through viral shedding but this is much less common.

Please check out the fact sheet on transmission rates to get a better idea of the risk profile.

risks of herpes

Very importantly, If you are not sure you are ok with the risks wait until you are sure.

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