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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.

In the case of oral HSV-1, many of the approximately 100 million Americans who are infected acquired the virus when they were children.

In this feature, we look at the latest scientific facts about the two types of herpes simplex virus, as well as social attitudes toward oral and genital herpes.

When many people first tell someone they have genital herpes, they start by comparing the infection to oral herpes, or cold sores. In spite of scientific facts, the social stigma and emotional attitudes surrounding genital herpes can make it hard to compare it objectively with an oral infection that most people casually accept.

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.

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