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- HSV-1 and HSV-2 are double-stranded, enveloped DNA viruses of the α-herpesviruses. Distributed worldwide, HSV-1 and HSV-2 are antigenically distinct. Herpes from Greek "to creep".
- High rates of seroprevalence to HSV-1 by adulthood, seroprevalence of HSV-2 related to sexual activity. HSV-2 increases risk of HIV acquisition and transmission.
- A chronic, life-long infection with acute episodes; establishes latency in sensory ganglia at site of initial mucocutaneous infection.