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Testing for Herpes: What’s the Difference and What You Need to Know

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If you have recently been exposed to herpes, you probably have a lot of questions. You may also have questions if you are experiencing symptoms that you think might be herpes. However, some people do not realize that herpes actually has two different types. The two types are very different, and it is important to know which type you have, if you have it at all.

Herpes Type 1

Herpes type one, or HSV1, usually presents itself through cold sores or fever blisters around the mouth. This type of herpes is spread through contact with the mouth or saliva, such as kissing, sharing a fork, or drinking out of the same cup. You can spread herpes even if you do not have a cold sore present.

If you think you have been exposed to herpes type one, you should refrain from sharing food and drinks with anyone until you have been tested. A lab test can easily determine if you have herpes, although the characteristic cold sores themselves can provide diagnosis if you see your doctor.

Herpes Type 2

Herpes type two, or HSV2, usually causes sores in the genital and rectum areas. It is typically spread through sexual intercourse. If you have been exposed to herpes or display symptoms, you should refrain from sexual activities until you have been tested.

A Word of Caution

Herpes type 1 can, in some cases, also lead to genital sores. For this reason, if you have any genital sores, you should go through the lab test to determine if you have herpes type 1 or type 2. Type 1 is much easier to spread through saliva, even if you do not have sexual intercourse. It is important to protect others by understanding your condition fully.

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