What Is Anal Herpes?

Anal herpes causes sores and blisters around the anus. After the blisters break out, scabs form on them. Some blisters form ulcerations after they discharge the fluid.

There are other infections too that can cause lesions around the anus. Chancroid and Syphilis are capable of such infections. The symptoms for each one of them differ, but all of them manifest lesions around the anus.

All of them including “Anal Herpes” come from sexual contact with an infected person.

Anal herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-II), the same virus that causes Genital Herpes.

anal herpes

What is Anal Herpes

Symptoms of anal herpes

Pain and itching around the anus
Flu-like symptoms including mild fever preceding eruptions
Appearance of red bumps or blisters containing transparent fluids around anus
Scabs form after blister rupture or bleed
Ulcers develop at the place of original blisters

Diagnosis of Anal Herpes

The manifestation of symptoms of Anal Herpes varies in different individuals. The main difference is in severity. In average cases, where there is eruption around the anus, a physical examination by a physician can ensure an infection. If there is a history of anal sex in such a case, it’s anal herpes.

As several different sexually transmitted infections can cause anal eruptions, it’s difficult to ascertain that it’s HSV type 2. So, to ensure the course of treatment the precise cause of infection is to be ascertained. That needs a blood test.

In such a case, the blood sample is to be tested for possible Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and few other STDs. For anal symptoms, there can be more than one STIs. So, some doctors will conduct additional tests to verify that the symptoms are not the result of another type of infection.

After there is a positive result your doctor can discuss treatment options.

Transmission of Anal Herpes

Herpes Simplex Virus type II is responsible for Anal Herpes. It’s the same virus that causes Genital Herpes. However, everyone with genital herpes has not anal herpes.

Anal herpes is contagious; as contagious as Genital herpes. It is passed from an infected person to another through sexual contact. Once infected, the person is capable of infecting others through sexual contact even when the virus isn’t causing any symptoms.

As per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 30 million Americans have HSV-II. Each year, an additional 776,000 Americans are diagnosed with a new case of the STI. These are modest numbers, the actual numbers are likely to be much more.

In the United States, one in four people has genital herpes.

Treatment of Anal Herpes

Once infected, the virus stays with the host for life. There is no possible cure for this virus so far.

The treatment concentrates on managing the painful symptoms during manifestations. The treatment ensures that the duration and intensity of the symptoms are considerably reduced so that the virus becomes manageable. Then it focuses on reducing the frequencies of relapses. When the virus is not active, passing the infection to a sexual partner is considerably reduced.

The therapy is primarily antiviral.

Once there is a positive diagnosis the antiviral medication starts. The pills reduce the intensity of the symptoms till the attack lasts. After the symptoms are gone, one has to still remain under medication for some time to subdue the virus. That reduces the chances of recurring outbreaks.

It’s a suppressive therapy, but that’s all is available as on date. If the outbreak of Anal Herpes is very severe, the treatment may include intravenous antiviral therapy. Here the medicine is injected into the bloodstream. This works faster.

If the antiviral treatment is taken immediately after an infection, the symptoms are not very painful. The blisters also disappear faster and the duration of the outbreak is considerably reduced. However, if neglected, the outbreak is very painful and takes quite some time to disappear completely.

Reduce Your Risk

As there is no cure for Anal herpes, it’s only wise to prevent an infection. One can lower the risk of an infection by practicing safe sex.

Following are few suggestions to keep you safe.

Wear a condom during every sexual encounter, whether vaginal, anal or oral sex.
Reduce your number of sexual partners. Don’t indulge with partners with unknown sexual status. If possible, practice monogamy.
Be in a relationship and be monogamous.
Get regular STI screenings. Regular std testing keeps you and your family safe.



HIV may be the most dreaded for STD in the US but genital herpes is the most common and more prevalent. To add insult to injury, it’s the most painful and frustrating among all STDs. Its main frustration comes from frequent eruptions around genitals, mouth, or rectum. You can manage it for some time, shorten the outbreaks, and minimize the painful condition for each outbreak, but there’s no permanent relief from this as there are no cures to genital herpes so far.

A recent study, however, seems hopeful for the victims of this STD. A subtype of immune cells, as researchers say, seem to have the power to suppress this painful outbreaks. These newly identified cells seem to have a profound effect on HSV-2 or genital herpes.

This discovery is no small feat. A painful and incurable disease such as genital herpes is very bothersome. If you find some means to control it beyond a certain point, it is as good as a cure. But the good thing is that this discovery can lead to a possible vaccine for HSV-2. What else can an individual with this STI ask for?

The newfound CD8??+ T-cells

These newly identified T-cells are called CD8??+ T-cells. They promise more breakthroughs in near future though we don’t have much information about them at present. Once turned on, they create all sorts of antiviral substances and antibodies. Dr. Larry Corey who is an internationally renowned virologist and president and director of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, claims that this can be a possible breakthrough we are looking for.

We can only get a relapse when the HSV-2 reactivates. At the point of reactivation of this virus, these cells are the first to act to contain this virus. These T-cells are very fast and effective in their reaction. They are capable of containing the virus even before they reach the skin. This refocuses our attention from the “ganglion level of the spinal canal area” to the new T-cells. These CD8??+ T-cells are located in the DEJ – the layer of tissue just below the skin’s surface. This conclusion comes from the research of Dr. Corey and his colleagues.

This test is a type of laser capture of the tissue from the dermal-epidermal junction (DEJ.) It’s the place where the outer layer of skin (dermis) – connects to the epidermis. These cells that are located in the DEJ are responsible for controlling HSV-2, so this implies that herpes reactivation is controlled in the skin, not the ganglions in the spine.

A possible HSV-2 Vaccine

This research made another startling discovery– these T-cells (CD8??+) are programmed to remain in the skin surrounding the genitals at all times, so they are the resident memory T-cells. Their presence also makes sense about the asymptomatic recurrences of genital herpes. These cells are persistently on “immune surveillance” to seek and destroy HSV-2.

Dr. Corey says, “The real implication here is that the way herpes seems to act is that the virus is actually reactivating very frequently. The human immune response is containing it most of the time.” This finding corrects the older belief — “herpes reactivated once a month.” In the present condition, we can say the virus actually reactivates at least once in a week or at least in a few days than earlier believed. An outbreak can confirm a reduced number of CD8??+ T-cells at that point of time, so the eruption could not be contained.

The earlier findings of CD8??+ T-cells were associated with the study of blood circulation. These cells were known to exist in the gut mucosa. Dr. Corey and his team are the first to link them to the skin. We have to now find out ways to increase the presence of the cells in our immune system. If we succeed we can have the first breakthrough towards the much awaited HSV vaccine.

At least, this can be the starting point to guide an idea towards a test vaccine. If we can find a way to increase the number or function of these T-cells that would be one route we would want to take first. Like many other vaccines, this method would ensure safety from any side effects. This vaccine can help people to almost go without outbreaks, even when the stage of genital herpes is most contagious.

Even though this vaccine may not cure those of HSV-2, it could ultimately help stop the spread of it. With a CDC figure of 776,000 people in the United States added to the “infected with herpes” group each year, it is mean task if we can stop the infection of HSV.



What is Herpes?


When people start searching for information on Herpes, they are scared, but they hardly know how troublesome it can be. There are many opinions about whether Herpes is innocuous or dangerous, but all agree on the fact that an infection such as Herpes simplex or genital herpes is quite bothersome. Once you are infected, it stays with you forever.

what is herpes

As per the official data, one individual in each four is infected with herpes. This seems alarming but it hardly says the complete range of suffering a patient undergoes. Chlamydia is considered to be most prevalent of all STDs, but Herpes, as well as HIV, compete closely with it.

What is Herpes?

Herpes is an STD. Well, that’s too common a fact, but it indicates one thing. The propagation or the infection occurs due to sexual contact. Sexual intercourse of any nature, whether anal, vaginal or oral in gay, lesbian or heterosexual individuals with an infected person can trigger an infection.

Clean and tidy sexual habit on your part when you have sex with an infected partner can save you for a couple of times but not for long. People say condoms can protect, but that’s a myth.

The body fluids from any orifice of an infected person carry the infecting agent, the virus. When your mucous membrane or open tissue comes in contact with these infected fluids the infection gets it into your system.

A viral infection is different from a bacterial infection. Some STDs, say gonorrhea and syphilis, come from bacterial infections. Their manifestation is quite different from that of STDs which come from viral infections. The bacterial STDs respond to normal antibiotic treatment and are considered curable. On the other hand, STDs that come from viral infections are mostly incurable and in most of the cases very obstinate.

Herpes manifests symptoms around oral mucous membranes, skin, and tongue. In some cases, the manifestations are on the skin. When the disease comes from sexual activities, it manifests symptoms around male and female genitals and popularly known as genital herpes. That’s not all. The virus also affects the nerves of its victim and as on date, it’s difficult to ascertain its complete neurological impact. The herpes virus is known as Herpes Simplex virus or HSV. It has 2.5 stains which are responsible for 2 herpes and a similar manifestation of herpes.

In the following paragraphs, you will find the details of each type of herpes.

What is Herpes Simplex?

You have seen cold sores. They are generally considered as a form of Herpes, Herpes Simplex or HSV-1. People are apt to associate cold sores with oral herpes, but that may not be the case always. Ulceration of mouth can come from many other reasons, even from gonorrhea and syphilis. It may also come from simple indispositions in health.

herpes simplex

Herpes simplex manifests after one is infected with HSV. The incubation is very short, maybe a week. It affects the mucous membranes inside the mouth and the skin around. The main seat is the place where skin meets the mucous membrane or where two types of skin tissue meet. These are places such as the lips, the corner of the mouth, and the upper and lower lip ridges.

This infection is considered a simple form of herpes but it keeps coming again and again. When there is stress on the body vitality, the virus attacks promptly. The symptoms manifest for a week or two then goes away altogether. This stage is considered the first stage of genital herpes, but it may never develop into HSV-2.

What is Genital Herpes?

This malady is popularly known as HSV-2 as the virus responsible for this infection is named so. This disease is complicated. When people say Herpes, they actually mean genital Herpes. Genital Herpes is a chronic condition. Chronicity, in medicine, means a condition for life, if not cured. In acute conditions, the disease subsides with or without medical treatment or it may kill the person infected, but when the disease is chronic it progresses very slowly and may or may not respond to the treatment. It stays with the patient till death or until cured.

Well, now back to genital Herpes.

This may initially manifest as HSV-1 and then progress to HSV-2, but the primary cause of infection is intimate sexual contact. If someone goes into oral sex with an infected person, he or she develops pronounced oral symptoms. After the first manifestation, the condition subsides as any other acute disease, but there are periodic relapses. The remission periods get longer and longer over time and each relapse decreases in intensity. This is a trend with all chronic diseases. This comes from the weakening of the body vitality either due to drug effect or the onslaught of the virus.

After the prodome, the virus mostly remains dormant except for the brief relapse, but the disease remains highly contagious. So, whether the host has blisters on genitals or not, he or she can always infect a sex partner. Genital Herpes is dreaded for its painful state. Other than that people don’t find it bothersome, but that’s a myth. If this remains untreated for a longer period, this may create a state where the patient may develop susceptibility to HIV.

What is Herpes Zoster?

This infection is the half stain I mentioned earlier. It comes from a virus which belongs to the subfamily Alphaherpesvirinae. This virus is quite similar but is not HSV. The same virus is the cause of Chickenpox in humans.

Herpes Zoster is the chronic condition of Chickenpox. After the first manifestation of its acute state, it subsides and stays latent for some time before it comes back as Zoster. This is also known as Shingles or Zona.

It’s the warning from the experts that, most infections come from unsuspecting donors. People who infect others are generally not aware that they are infected. It’s quite credible as infected people in most cases don’t suspect an infection because there are hardly any painful symptoms. Some people at the time of infection don’t experience clearly marked changes except some flu-like symptoms.

The only way to be sure whether you are clean of or infected by herpes is to get tested for Herpes. The symptoms may indicate a presence but it can’t confirm it, so before you can seek treatment you should get Herpes testing at a reliable FDA approved agency.

What is Herpes Zoster?

This is not true Herpes because the virus which is responsible for the infection is not a stain of HSV. The virus responsible is called Varicella zoster virus or VZV which causes Chickenpox. It’s popularly referred to as Shingles or Zona.

Herpes Zoster rash

The acute stage of infection by this virus is called chickenpox, but it has a chronic stage too. After the pox stage subsides, the virus goes into hibernation to erupt later at a suitable time. The virus seeks to refuse in the nerve cell bodies till the secondary eruptions take place. These eruptions are quite different than the pox stage and the symptoms are very different.

Why is Shingles named Herpes Zoster?

  • Both HSV and VZV share a common origin, subfamily Alphaherpesvirinae.
  • Both these viruses have similar eruptions, watery blisters in crops.
  • The eruption occurs on a single side, on skin supplied by one set of spinal nerves. When the blisters subside the area may experience nerve pains.
  • After the first infection, they stay latent and erupt again when the individual’s vitals go weak.
  • They both predominantly affect the nerves and travel through the nerves.

One can’t get infected with zoster by someone who has it. However, there’s a chance that a person with Shingles can give the virus to another who hasn’t had Chickenpox vaccine or Chickenpox.

Herpes Zoster symptoms

Symptoms of shingles come in stages. First symptoms to appear may be acute photophobia with a mild headache. There may be flu-like symptoms without marked fever.

After this stage, one may feel itching, tingling, or pain in localized spots. Then, a rash may occur a few days later in a band or strip-like area. Then the rash turns into crops of blisters. The blisters fill with watery fluid and a few days later they crust over. The blisters take 2 to 4 weeks to heal. It may leave scars. Some get only a mild rash, and some do not get any rash at all.

These symptoms accompany dizziness. It affects clarity of mind and it takes effort to focus one’s mind on mental works. This may come with blurry vision with heaviness of head. If you have any of these problems from Shingles, you must immediately consult your doctor.

Treatment for Shingles

Herpes Zoster has a vaccine which is considered the most effective way to handle this infection. This minimizes the chances of infection and post-herpetic neuralgia.  If you can prevent this infection it’s the best thing you can do to yourself.

The second best alternative is antiviral drug treatment, but the treatment needs at least a week to ten days to handle the rash and post-herpetic neuralgia if taken within 72 hours of appearance of the rash.

To heal the rashes and minimize pain you need to have good home care in addition to medication. You must keep the sores clean at all times and take care that the crust does not break too often. Take medicines regularly as directed by the doctor and take plenty of rest. If pain increases considerably, you can start a course of painkillers.

You can keep the following points in mind to minimize your chances of getting Shingles.

  • If you had chicken pox in the past you are prone to it.
  • People above 50 years of age may contact Shingles easily, so stay vaccinated.
  • If you have a weak immune system you are more chances of getting infected, so get the vaccine.
  • If you already contacted Shingles getting vaccinated reduces pain and further chances of infection in future.

This sickness is not as prevalent as other strains of herpes. The number of cases reported every year ranges from 1.2 to 3.4 cases per thousand. However, in people older than 65 years, the reported cases show an increasing trend, from 3.9 to 11.8 per thousand individuals per year.