People often ask what the difference between Herpes simplex 1 and Herpes simplex 2 is. First of all, the two types of Herpes simplex viruses are 85% the same genetically. The symptoms are also the same. So what is the difference then?
What we do know is that HSV – 1 prefers the environment of the oral and facial area. So when HSV -1 is an outbreak, you will see fever blisters on the corner of the mouth or the lips. Occasionally people will get an outbreak on their chin or cheeks, but the area that the HSV – 1 prefers is the oral and facial part of the body.
Can You Get HSV -1 Genitally?
And the answer to that is YES. In fact, we see more and more of that on people with HSV – 1 orally or having oral sex with someone who does not carry the HSV – 1 virus. And that is mainly how we’re getting HSV – 1 genitally.
What about HSV – 2?
HSV – 2 does prefer the area below the waist, or in the boxer part region. That includes that part of the body covered by the boxer shorts. This covers the genitalia, inner thigh, buttocks, and other related areas. Such outbreaks on those areas are commonly called “genital herpes”.
This is commonly the manifestations of HSV – 2, but as we said earlier, we are finding cases of HSV – 1 genitally. HSV – 2 though cannot infect a person orally.