What is the history of herpes and how is it transmitted?


As you, or someone you know, begin to deal with the virus, you may wonder what exactly the history of herpes is. Where did the virus come from and when did it become so prevalent? Here is a brief overview.

The goal of this article is to provide a basic history of genital herpes. Don’t think of this as a textbook with all the information you might want or need. Instead, it covers the basics of the virus’s progression throughout history and how it became so prevalent.

The history of herpes begins as early as Greek antiquity. Hippocrates speaks of the condition in his writings. Even the word “herpes” is a Greek word that means “crawl or crawl,” which is the way the Greeks described the way skin lesions spread. In Roman times, Emperor Tiberius tried to stop an outbreak of oral herpes by banning kissing at public events and ceremonies. Shortly after Tiberius, a doctor named Celsus suggested that herpes be treated by cauterizing the sores with a hot iron. It is unknown how long Tiberius’s kissing ban lasted or how long Celsus’s treatment was used, but both seem to have ended fairly quickly.

Later in the story, it is believed that Shakespeare had knowledge of the virus. In his work Romeo and Juliet he speaks of “blisters plagues” which scholars believe refers to the herpes virus. There are also seventeenth and early eighteenth century medical journals dealing with this disease. During this time there were also a lot of speculation about the cause of herpes – one of the most notable was the suggestion that herpes was caused by insect bites. Obviously, the history of herpes contains many misconceptions.

However, this information does not really tell us when or where the herpes story began. The origin of herpes in humans is unknown. Some scholars believe that it has been around since the beginning of the human race.

In more recent times, the history of genital herpes and the way in which the virus spreads began to be recognized as early as the 20th century. Studies began to define various strains of the virus and in 1919 a man named Lowenstein confirmed scientists’ suspicion that herpes was infectious.

Before this time, people were not sure that herpes was a virus; in fact, it was viewed by many as other common skin conditions, such as eczema, that cannot be transmitted. Studies on herpes continued into the 20th century and scientists were able to begin to identify various strains of the virus.. The history of genital herpes continues as scientists and doctors continue to study it and look for ways to minimize its effects and the possibility of transmission.

What can we learn from this herpes story? It certainly reveals that the disease is not just a modern phenomenon. It has been around for a while and unfortunately, unless a cure is found, it will continue to exist. In the meantime, we can be grateful that the medical minds of our time have a much better understanding of the condition and are working on ways to minimize the symptoms and hopefully one day eliminate the disease.