Herpes Simplex 1

Herpes simplex-1 affects about 66% of the population. It is usually transmitted person to person via oral secretions. 


Most infections with herpes simplex-1 have no symptoms. If symptomatic, it may present with oral lesions, genital lesions (ulcerations and lymph node swelling) , skin and mucous membrane lesions and eye infections. 

Rarely it may become a more systemic serious illness, such as encephalitis or affecting the organs or a newborn. 

The symptoms may depend on if it is an initial infection or a recurrence of infection. Initial infections may present with sore throat or mouth and gum lesions. Recurrent infection usually affects the lips. 

Herpes gladiatorum is a skin manifestation of HSV-1. It is common in certain athletes, like wrestlers. One should not participate in contact sports until the lesions are crusted over. 


The diagnosis can be made via culture or labs.


Symptomatic infections are treated with antivirals. For those that have numerous infections suppressive daily antivirals may be an option. 


Those with oral HSV lesions can transmit HSV-1 through oral sex to unaffected persons leading the genital lesions. Safe sex practices and avoiding contact with lesions do reduce the risk of transmission.