What is Genital Herpes?

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection that can cause blisters and skin ulcers in the genital and anal area.

It can be caused by either of two types of herpes simplex virus, HSV-1 or HSV-2.

HSV spreads from person to person through kissing and skin-to-skin contact, as well as through vaginal, oral or anal intercourse.

An infected person often transmits the virus when skin blisters or ulcers are visible, but the virus also can be spread when there are no symptoms or skin sores at all.

Herpes virus can be transmitted by people who don't know they are infected.

Recognizing the signs of Herpes Simplex.

It is important to understand that although someone may not have visible sores or symptoms, they may still be infected by the virus and may transmit the virus to others. Some of the symptoms associated with this virus include:

  • Blistering sores (in the mouth or on the genitals)
  • Pain during urination (genital herpes)
  • Itching
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Preventing genital herpes:

Avoid having sex

Always use a condom

Testing your partner

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watch the video below to answer all your questions!

Cold Sores (Herpes Simplex Virus) : How Do You Get Cold Sores, Symptoms and Treatments.


Episodes of genital herpes can be treated with oral antiviral medications, including valacyclovir (Valtrex), famciclovir (Famvir) and acyclovir (Zovirax). Acyclovir also comes in a cream for application to the skin. The cream is not very effective and in general not recommended.

For severe herpes virus infections, people are treated with intravenous (IV) acyclovir.

Although these antiviral medications cannot cure the herpes infection, they can reduce the severity and shorten the duration of symptoms. The initial genital herpes outbreak should be treated as soon as possible. Ideally an antiviral should begin within three days of when symptoms start.

For recurrences, an antiviral medication can be started at soon as symptoms are noticed to make the outbreak less severe. People with severe or frequent recurrences should consider taking an antiviral medication daily. Daily use of antiviral medications can reduce the severity and frequency of recurrences. Daily antivirals might also help prevent transmission of herpes virus to sexual partners.

Facts about Herpes Simplex:

  • People who have genital herpes can have sex. They should avoid sexual contact if they have symptoms. Wearing condoms helps prevent passing it on.
  • More than 50% of the population has herpes. Most of them don't know it.
  • Receiving oral sex from somebody who has cold sores around their mouth significantly raises the risk of becoming infected.
  • You cannot get genital herpes from a toilet seat.
  • Genital herpes can spread from one part of your body to another.
  • If you never have symptoms, this does not mean you do not have genital herpes.
  • Stress can trigger a recurrence of symptoms.
  • People who have genital herpes are more susceptible to HIV.
  • Genital herpes cannot make you sterile.