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...
How did I get herpes? Did my partner cheat? Or did I have it before the relationship? How long can herpes stay dormant? These are some of the questions that people newly diagnosed with genital herpes ask. Here's what we know about how this infection occurs. The first outbreak usually occurs within 2-10 days of exposure to the virus. This outbreak may be a sore or lesion in or around the vagina or on the cervix in women or on the penis and scrotum of men. Men or women can get lesions within the urinary tract, around or inside the anus, on the buttocks, thighs or other parts of the body. Usually the lesions start as reddened bumps which evolve over hours or days into blisters/open sores which crust over, dry up and heal. Sometimes a second crop of lesions occur. The initial infection may be severe and have more generalized symptoms such as fever, headache and muscle aches. However, these lesions are not the only symptom of an initial outbreak. Symptom...
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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