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.
Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) Each year, hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. contract a sexually transmitted disease. Thus, it is important to understand what behaviors put you, your family and friends at risk. All of us must take responsibility for protecting ourselves and our partners. Simply addressing these issues does not imply approval of the sexual practices discussed. Most STDs are treatable, but AIDS has no cure and death is virtually certain. Therefore, education about this disease is vital. Although AIDS can be spread through shared use of contaminated needles among drug abusers, or rarely, through a blood transfusion, it is usually transmitted by sexual contact. The virus is present in semen and vaginal secretions and enters a person's body through the small tears in the vaginal or rectal tissues that can develop during sexual activity. AIDS is not considered a highly contagious disease; transmission of the virus occurs only after ...
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