Herpes is a virus that is commonly associated with either oral or genital areas of the body. However, many people are surprised to learn that both types of herpes viruses, HSV1 and HSV2, can affect either area. It used to be believed that HSV1 only caused oral herpes, while HSV2 caused genital herpes. Additionally, there was a stigma associated with genital herpes, with people believing that it was the "bad" kind of herpes. However, it is important to note that there is no good or bad kind of herpes, and both types of viruses can cause symptoms in either location.
In reality, the herpes virus can affect several areas of the body, including the mouth, genitals, hands, and eyes. Herpetic whitlow is a form of herpes that affects the hands, while ocular herpes can infect the eyes. It is important to note that once the virus enters the body, it will not change types, so if you have oral HSV1 and transmit it to your hands, it will still be HSV1.
While herpes can affect different areas of the body, it is not common for the virus to spread from one area to another. Once you have developed antibodies to the virus, you cannot reinfect yourself with the same herpes virus. However, it can take a few weeks to a few months for the antibodies to show up, so it is possible to spread the virus to other parts of your body during this time.
It is also important to note that if the virus comes into contact with an open wound or sore on another person's body, it can be transmitted to that area. For example, if someone with an oral herpes outbreak kisses a scraped knee, there is a risk that the virus could be transmitted to that area.
Overall, it is important to be educated about herpes and how it can be transmitted. There are ways to prevent outbreaks and minimize the risk of transmission, such as avoiding contact with open sores and using protection during sexual activity. If you are new to herpes, there are resources available to help you learn more and manage your symptoms.