Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Chakabox Answerbox

[First, a little background: There are 2 distinct types of herpes simplex virus, or HSV: type 1 and type 2. HSV1 most commonly causes cold sores, and about 80% of Americans have it. HSV2 is the cause of most genital herpes, and about 25% of Americans have it. Despite these location 'preferences', both viruses can live either place.]

This morning a friend sent me an email asking me to confirm or deny the following statement, and both the asker and I thought it would a great first entry to the Chakabox Answerbox:

"Acquisition of one type [of herpes] is more difficult - though certainly possible - if you already have the other type. This is because either type, contracted orally or genitally, causes the body to produce [immune proteins called] antibodies, some of which are active against both HSV-1 and 2. This acquired immune response gives some limited protection if the body encounters a second type." (text taken from http://www.herpes.com/hsv1-2.html*)

In the experience and knowledge of Chakabox, this statement is mostly true. HSV2 infection does appear to protect against subsequent HSV1 infection. Meaning, if you get genital herpes first, you're not going to get cold sores in the future. It's a small thing, but sometimes you've gotta find the bright side.

The same can't be said about HSV1 infection, however. There is some protection afforded, it's true, but not in a way that's interesting to anyone but infectious disease researchers. The practical reality is that having cold sores will not prevent you from getting genital herpes down the line. I can't find the bright side to that, but here's this.

If you have any questions about this entry to the Answerbox - or about anything regarding sex or sexuality - please write me! Your name will remain out of it unless you expressly tell me you'd like it used. I love questions, have lots of resources and would love to hear from you. The submission email is Answerbox@chakabox.com!

*www.herpes.com is a good site. Very thorough, generally up-to-date and factual, despite all the ads. Just ignore the ads - they're all malarkey, and this coming from someone who believes in naturopathic medicine.

No comments:

Post a Comment