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...
Understanding Herpes Testing
The most important fact to know in terms of Herpes testing is that
blood testing with an IgG test is the BEST test for diagnosing the disease.
first see the doctor for a suspicious genital ulcer, your health care provider
may ask a lot of really personal and embarrassing questions. Know
that having an accurate sexual history as well as a description of your
symptoms is very important as your health care provider evaluates you. Be honest.
medical history and physical examination alone can not diagnose herpes.
I've seen a
lot of genital herpes, but it's easy to be fooled. I've had patients who had lesions in unusual
places or didn't have a typical story that I mistook for abscesses - only after
they failed antibiotics did I do the culture and verify that it was
On the other hand, I've seen some very typical appearing ulcers on the genitals
that turned out NOT to be herpes.
Do you think about sex -- in any way or form -- at least once a day? If you said no, you're probably kidding yourself. Sex is everywhere in our culture, and if you're not getting any, you can start to feel like you're missing out. According to the Centers for Disease Control, two-thirds of all high school students are sexually active (non-virgins) by senior year. If you're part of the remaining third, you might use that figure as an excuse to jump into bed with any warm body (like the gang in American Pie who vowed to "lose it" by prom night). It's human nature to want to be in a loving relationship, but having sex will not satisfy our hunger for deep intimacy. True intimacy arises from verbal and emotional communion. It's built on a commitment to honesty, love, and communication. That's a tall order, and it helps explain why it can make sense for some people to put off becoming sexually active. Why Wait? If you practice abstinence (abstaining...
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