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...
Recently I counseled a young woman who had herpes on how and what to tell her boyfriend of a few years about her condition. She was terrified. First of all, she had never sought treatment . Until recently, she had been in denial about her condition. Luckily, she was smart enough to always use condoms and she never had intercourse with him when she had an outbreak. However, she hadn't told him about her condition, and she wanted to. First I congratulated her on her decision to be honest with her sexual partner. That's a courageous thing to do. 1. Brush up on the facts. It is much easier to tell your partner about your condition if you have a solid base of knowledge. You'll be able to allay your partner's fears and correct any misinformation he or she may have. You might want to have a brochure or pamphlet on hand. 2. Set the tone. Pick a good time to talk. This is not a discussion for an intimate moment. ...
Complications The severity of symptoms depends on where and how the virus enters the body. Except in very rare instances and in special circumstances, the disease is not life threatening, although it can be very debilitating and cause emotional distress. Herpes and Pregnancy Pregnant women who have genital herpes due to either herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) or herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) have an increased risk for miscarriage, premature labor, retarded fetal growth, or transmission of the herpes infection to the infant either in the uterus or at the time of delivery. Herpes in newborn babies (neonatals) can be a very serious condition. Fortunately, neonatal herpes is rare. Although about 25 - 30% of pregnant women have genital herpes, less than 0.1% of babies are born with neonatal herpes. The baby is at greatest risk during a vaginal delivery, especially if the mother has an asymptomatic infection that was first introduced late in the pregnancy. In such cases, 30 - 50% of newborns bec...
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