What is genital herpes?
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the
herpes simplex viruses (HSV) type 1 and type 2. Most genital herpes
is caused by HSV type 2.
Most people have no or minimal symptoms from HSV-1 or HSV-2
infection. When symptoms do occur, they usually appear as one or
more blisters on or around the genitals or rectum. The blisters
break, leaving ulcers or tender sores that may take up to four
weeks to heal. Typically, another outbreak can appear weeks or
Although the infection can stay in the body forever, the number
of outbreaks usually decreases over a period of years. You can pass
genital herpes to someone else even when you experience no
How common is genital herpes?
About 45 million Americans, age 12 and older have genital
herpes. Its estimated that up to one million people become
infected each year. Genital Herpes (HSV-2) is more common in women
How can I get genital herpes?
Herpes is a virus that can be...
He came in concerned about an itchy, burning rash on his penis. Silently, I could tell he thought it may be herpes . And I thought so too. When I told him that I too suspected herpes and that we needed to test him for the condition, he silently agreed. I told him about the test and about how we’d address the herpes if that is what he had. I knew he had questions, but I could also tell that he was so overwhelmed with the prospect of having the condition that he shut down. He was completely unable to regain his bearings and ask me all of the questions I knew were racing in his head. He left quickly despite my best efforts to engage him in conversation or offer support or information. I can’t imagine what my patient must have gone through that first day and night after our appointment. He must have been terrified, angry, depressed, or even felt ashamed. My heart aches for him. And by tomorrow, he’ll have a million questions. If you’re concerned that you may have herpes and haven’t see...
Alternative Names Cold sore; Fever blister; Herpes simplex - oral; Oral herpes simplex Prevention Avoid direct contact with herpes sores. Minimize the risk of indirect spread by thoroughly washing items such as towels in hot (preferably boiling) water before reuse. Do not share items with an infected person, especially when they have herpes lesions. Avoid triggers (especially sun exposure) if you are prone to oral herpes. Avoid performing oral sex when you have active herpes lesions on or near your mouth and avoid receiving oral sex from someone who has oral or genital herpes lesions. Condoms can help reduce, but do not entirely eliminate, the risk of catching herpes from oral or genital sex with an infected person. Both oral and genital herpes viruses can sometimes be transmitted even when the person does not have active lesions. References Haile-Mariam T, Polis MA. Viral illnesses. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosens Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice . ...
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