Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a common human pathogen found worldwide which produces a variety of diseases. Herpes simplex virus has been characterized into two different serotypes: HSV-1 is generally associated with infection in the tongue, month, lips, pharynx and eyes; whereas HSV-2 is primarily associated with genital and neonatal infection. In the U.S., most young sexually active persons with genital ulcers have genital herpes. Genital ulcers have been associated with an increased risk for HIV infections. Many cases of genital herpes are transmitted by persons who are unaware that they are infected or do not recognize symptoms. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that counselling is an important aspect of managing patients who have genital herpes.
One of the most serious consequences of genital herpes is neonatal herpes. Almost all neonatal HSV-
2 infections are acquired by passage through an infected birth canal of mothers who are asymptomatic at delivery. Mothers are at greater risk for contracting a primary or initial genital HSV infection when they are seronegative to one or both HSV types, and their partner is seropositive.
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