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...
I have been taking medication for this disease for about 20 years. My doctor recently told me that I am probably safe and that I can discontinue taking Acyclovir. Can this be true? Have I been spending money unnecessarily for many of these years? I have not had an outbreak for at least 15 of those years. I somehow feel cheated that none of my previous doctors indicated that I probably no longer needed to take the medicine. Daily long-term preventative medication , called suppressive therapy, is appropriate in some people with herpes to prevent severe and frequent recurrences and to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus. Studies show that if you develop an outbreak, the healing time is quicker and symptoms are less severe. Acyclovir is the standard drug used for suppressive therapy, but famciclovir and valacyclovir are also effective. Once the infection is controlled, some physicians decrease the dose ...
Diagnosis The herpes simplex virus is usually identifiable by its characteristic lesion: A thin-walled blister on an inflamed base of skin. However, other conditions can resemble herpes, and doctors cannot base a herpes diagnosis on visual inspection alone. In addition, many patients who carry the virus do not have visible genital or oral lesions. Laboratory tests are essential for confirming herpes diagnosis. These tests include: V irologic tests (viral culture of the lesion) S erologic tests (blood tests that detect antibodies) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that both virologic and serologic tests be used for diagnosing genital herpes. Patients diagnosed with genital herpes should also be tested for other sexually transmitted diseases. According to the CDC, up to 50% of first-episode cases of genital herpes are now caused by herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1). However, recurrences of genital herpes, and viral shedding without overt symptoms, are much less frequent with H...
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