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History of herpes

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I want to do a research paper on herpes. It is a very stigmatized sexually transmitted infection and I want to educate my classmates on it. Part of my paper will focus on the history of herpes; does the resource center have some information on it?

Herpes has been around for quite some time. It has a rich history so what follows is just a brief description to get you started.

The term herpes comes from the Greek word “herpein.” It means to creep or to crawl. Greek philosopher, Hippocrates coined the term in 400 BC. It is believed that prior to Hippocrates coining of the term, people were writing about it as far back as 3000 and 1500 BC. A Sumerian tablet from 3000 BC and Ebers Papyrus from 1500 BC contain descriptions of lesions that are believed to be caused by the herpes simplex or varicella-zoster virus.

However, it would be centuries before scientists realized how the virus was transmitted. Research in the 1930s revealed that herpes was caused by a virus. Two decades later, scientists were able to isolate other viruses in the herpesvirus family, such as varicella which causes chickenpox, and Epstein-Barr virus which causes mononucleosis. In the 1970s, genital herpes was recognized as a sexually transmitted infection.

For more information on its history, you may want to visit your University library and speak with a reference librarian. They can give you pointers on researching the topic and where to locate creditable resources.


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