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It's also the reason that both HSV-1 and 2 can pose serious challenges for infants, who have a limited immune response; and for people with compromised immune systems, including people with cancer, AIDS, severe burns, and people taking immunosuppressant medications.The second factor affecting outbreaks is how long a person has had the infection.What's behind the very different images the two types carry? In an interview, counselors at the National Herpes Hotline suggest ways to help replace judgmental social assumptions with a healthy attitude.

Both types infect the body's mucosal surfaces, usually the mouth or genitals, and then establish latency in the nervous system.

For both types, at least two-thirds of infected people have no symptoms, or symptoms too mild to notice.

The first is how well the person's immune system is able to control the infection.

Differences in immune response may be the main reason that some people are bothered by frequent cold sores or genital herpes outbreaks while others are not.

It is the most common cause of neonatal herpes, a rare but dangerous infection in newborns; however, type 1 causes up to one-third of neonatal infections.

The two types do behave somewhat differently depending on whether they are residing in their site of preference-the mouth and face for HSV-1, and the genital area for HSV-2.

Unfortunately, many people aren't aware of this, which contributes both to the spread of type 1 and to the misperception that the two types are fundamentally different.

"People don't understand that you can have type 1 genitally or orally, that the two types are essentially the same virus,' says Marshall Clover, manager of the National Herpes Hotline." One type is associated with stigma, the other is "'just a cold sore"- our society has a euphemism for it so we don't even have to acknowledge that it's herpes.'' The common myth is that HSV-1 causes a mild infection that is occasionally bothersome, but never dangerous. HSV-1 is usually mild, especially when it infects the lips, face, or genitals.

Over time, recurrences of both HSV- 1 and 2 tend to decrease, for reasons that aren't entirely clear.

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