Herpes simplex, what is it and its psychological implications

David Holt

Herpes is considered an endemic infection due to the large number of population it affects, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 67% of people under 50 years of age worldwide are infected with HSV- 1; Likewise, they consider that 11% of the global population between 15 and 49 years of age have HSV-2 (2012), the symptoms of genital herpes tend to go unnoticed, sometimes people can minimize the risks before their manifestation for various reasons, including: associated social stigmas and lack of information.

It is estimated that approximately 90% of patients with genital herpes are unaware that they have the virus. It is important to emphasize that it is contagious even though there are no visible clinical manifestations, so medical treatment is advised; immunocompromised people tend to suffer more symptoms. Due to the large number of the population with the virus, it is convenient to know a little more about it and to know how we can protect ourselves


  • What is a herpes infection?
  • Nervous system and herpes
  • Types of Herpes Simplex
    • Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 (HSV-1)
    • Herpes Simplex Virus type 2 (HSV-2)
  • Ozone therapy to treat Herpes
  • Herpes and psychological factors
    • What are some psychological implications of herpes?
  • Psychological phases of a patient with herpes
  • 9 recommendations for the herpetic patient
    • Links

What is a herpes infection?

It is a type of infection caused by a Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), which causes 'fever blisters', cold sores in or around the mouth, and is also capable of infecting other body regions. These lesions, vesicles or fluid-filled blisters, can be in different parts of the skin, they can also be located in the rectum or even on the genitals, because once the ampules are broken they become ulcers or sores, they are generally very painful and uncomfortable for the patient.

Other symptoms that patients with Herpes Simplex virus 1 and 2 may present are: fever and pain that when it persists beyond three months becomes another condition that must also be treated as it further complicates the virus infection: chronic pain.

Nervous system and herpes

How is it that the virus remains latent even though there are no visible symptoms? The virus 'winters' or remains in an inactive mode, in the mucous membranes, the skin or near the spinal cord within the nerve cells (ganglia); sometimes the virus 'wakes up' or 'reactivates' in the nerve ganglion and then travels through nerve fibers to the skin to produce rashes, usually in previously affected areas.

When it is believed that there may be a brain infection, a lumbar puncture can be performed to take a sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain..

Types of Herpes Simplex

Herpes simplex is divided into two categories:

Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 (HSV-1)

It is common for it to be acquired during childhood, by contact with the oral mucosa, producing cold or oral herpes, it frequently occurs in the mouth or eyes; Some symptoms that precede visible “sores” may be tingling, itching, or burning around the mouth. Skin manifestations can appear in other body regions.

Herpes Simplex Virus type 2 (HSV-2)

It occurs in the genital or anal area, although it can also be contagious in the mouth and eyes. It is usually transmitted sexually, there may be a tingling sensation in the legs, hips or buttocks before the appearance of genital ulcers, it is usually transmitted by contact with the genitals, skin, wounds or secretions of a person infected with the virus, even if it does not present visible manifestations. In case of having HSV-2, it is necessary to take precautions to avoid contagion with the sexual partner, such as: use of a condom, protective gloves and dental protectors.

Neonatal herpes occurs in approximately 10 out of every 100,000 births; however, careful attention must be paid, as it can lead to lifelong neurological dysfunction. The risk of infecting the child is very low, however, pregnant women are suggested to seek medical advice in this regard, to avoid the risks that are in their hands..

The herpes virus can cause outbreaks and recurrences, so it is very important that the recommendations that the doctor has made for the patient are taken into account, since the treatments can vary depending on the location of their lesions, the type of herpes and other variables that they, as health experts, take into account.

Ozone therapy to treat Herpes

Although the virus will always remain latent in the person, the healing of the lesions is slow and for many patients it is uncomfortable, since there are certain types of herpes that affect facial regions and can leave scars, when they are on the trunk, sometimes they reach be so painful that the simple contact with clothing hurts patients; in herpetic keratitis, the eye is infected with the virus.

When the patient follows the medical recommendations for their health, their symptoms can remit with the classic treatments, what other therapeutic options are there to treat herpes successfully? Ozone therapy is an excellent option for the treatment of lesions caused by the herpes virus: ulcers, sores, infected blisters can heal in less time, without harmful effects on the body, while the patient can strengthen their immune system by means of ozone autohemotherapy.

Herpes and psychological factors

The infection is caused by the herpes simplex virus is very common, it can bring psychological implications that in turn exacerbate the herpetic symptoms, leading to outbreaks and recurrences with certain periodicity manifesting very reactive pictures. There are some psychological factors that must be taken care of: stress levels, sleep hygiene, are very important aspects, because when they are not taken care of they could be a trigger rather than exacerbate a herpetic outbreak.

What are some psychological implications of herpes?

Herpes can damage the self-esteem of the person who suffers from it; There are many prejudices and sociocultural stigmas around herpes, especially due to the aspect of clinical symptoms, when the person has a large part of an area of ​​the body affected, such as the face, they may experience shame, some adopt poor adaptation mechanisms, instead of practices for emotional well-being, such as resorting to affective isolation, which can increase emotional distress and in turn exacerbate herpetic symptoms.

When the infection is by HSV-2, it is also conflictive for the patient, especially when young, it can be confusing and not knowing who to approach for help, it is common for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) to cause shame, fear and sometimes even guilt, which makes them skip talking about it and do not seek medical advice necessary for their condition. However, this should not be an impediment, the most important thing is your well-being, you could have an unnecessary health complication.

Psychological phases of a patient with herpes

When the person has herpes, they usually go through certain phases, it is necessary to transcend them so that they take responsibility for their own health and adopt the appropriate management measures for their well-being:

  1. Denial: when the person minimizes the risks of the symptoms that he manifests, even with a medical diagnosis, staying in this stage can be very detrimental to his well-being and that of his sexual partner (s), since the patient does not he takes responsibility for his own health, nor is he careful with the people he comes into contact with so as not to infect them.
  2. Anger: patients infected with the virus may resent themselves when their skin lesions begin to affect their self-concept. They may also experience anger towards the person they think gave them the virus, this especially happens when it was due to HSV-2. You can be sure that your partner is the only one with whom you have sexual relations, but… could you assure that he or she has 'never' had unprotected relations with another person (s)? To "heal your emotional wounds", it is necessary to transcend anger and feelings of self-pity: "remember that the responsibility of taking care of health belongs to each individual", VH-2 is very common among the population, so the most It is convenient to maintain safe sexual practices: "We see faces, we do not know sexual relations".
  3. Sadness, shame and guilt: in this phase the patient is affected in his state of mind, he experiences feelings of disappointment, they often start to worry because the latent presence of the symptoms may be more evident; some in this phase begin to think about going to the doctor or "starting to listen to him." It is important that the patient does not fall into a loop of anxiety and despair, since self-drive feelings only further complicate the patient's mood, damaging his self-esteem. In any case, something positive about these emotions and this phase is that the person can do introspection.
  4. Acceptance, awareness and responsibility: it is when the patient becomes aware of their condition and future complications, so they choose to adopt healthy, intelligent and adaptive coping strategies. At this stage, it is beneficial for the patient to let go of the resentments, guilt, and feelings that contribute to their discomfort. In this phase, he turns to health professionals and tries to follow the suggestions that are made to him in favor of his health..

9 recommendations for the herpetic patient

  1. Go to a trusted doctor and follow the instructions, do not minimize your symptoms, before the manifestation of any symptoms, the healthiest thing is that you contact your treating doctor, if you are thinking of doing the "remedy" that someone suggested, you must first consult it, 'every organism is different'.
  2. Protect yourself from photodamage: With sunscreens, hats, umbrellas and more. Sun exposure can damage the skin of patients with herpes virus lesions, complicating their reactive symptoms..
  3. It is recommended that everyone undergo medical check-ups at least once or twice a year, to monitor their health, including sexual health; before the manifestation of symptoms or problems, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
  4. Look for information in reliable sources about your condition and the ways in which you can obtain a better quality of life.
  5. Maintain good body and sleep hygiene. It is important to sleep enough hours a day to support your immune system.
  6. Follow healthy eating guidelines to strengthen your immune system.
  7. The correct use of condoms for sexual intercourse can help prevent the spread of genital herpes, it is worth mentioning that there may be outbreaks of genital herpes outside the areas covered by the condom, some patients use gloves and dental guards to protect themselves and their sexual partner (s).
  8. Strengthen your self-esteem, your talents and your virtues.
  9. In case you cannot transcend any of the aforementioned phases and you think that this complicates your physical and emotional health more, it is necessary to seek psychological assistance. Psychologists are health professionals who can help you transcend these stages and find faster healing of your "heart" and your mind, while treating your body.


  • https://www.who.int/es/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/herpes-simplex-virus#vhs1
  • https://nacionfarma.com/tipos-comunes-virus-herpes-y-vacunas/
  • https://www.who.int/fr/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/herpes-simplex-virus
  • https://salud.nih.gov/articulo/el-herpes-puede-sucesole-a-cualirse/
  • http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/stdsstis/statistics/

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