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Herpes - a Common STD

Written by
Dr. Suvash Sahu
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Aug 03, 2016 and last reviewed on Sep 07, 2018   -  2 min read


In this article, I have discussed the clinical presentation and treatment of herpes.

Herpes - a Common STD

Herpes disease is caused by herpes simplex virus. The herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a double stranded DNA virus, infects humans alone and is almost ubiquitous. There are two closely related species of HSV, type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2). They cause primary as well as recurrent mucocutaneous infections. HSV-1 and HSV-2 are usually responsible for non-genital and genital infections respectively, though the reverse can occur in a minority of cases.

True primary infection is usually quite severe as it occurs in a seronegative individual with no previous exposure with HSV. Following primary infection, the virus establishes a latent or dormant state within the posterior root ganglia neurons and on reactivation travels down the nerve fiber to cause recurrent infection.

Clinical Presentation:

The most common presentation of herpes occurs in two ways. They are orofacial infection and genital infection.

Orofacial Infection:

Genital Infection:

Recurrent Herpes Infection:

The grouped vesicular lesions of recurrent herpes are preceded by itching or burning by one or two days. New lesions cease to appear after one or two days. The course of the eruption is faster; the lesions erode, crust over in four to five days and completely heal in 8-9 days.


Diagnosis is based on the clinical picture and the following investigations.

  1. Tzanck smear from the vesicles shows giant cells in the blister cavity.
  2. The virus can be typed by appropriate serological tests.


Tablet Acyclovir 200 mg five times a day for 7 days in primary and for 5 days in recurrent HSV infections is the recommended treatment for herpes.

For further doubts regarding herpes infection, consult a herpes simplex specialist online -->


Last reviewed at:
07 Sep 2018  -  2 min read




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