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Genital Herpes

What is Genital Herpes?

Genital Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease which can be caused by two viruses. Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (HSV-1) and Herpes Simplex Virus 2 (HSV-2). Oral herpes triggered by HSV-1 can be transmitted from the mouth to genitals through oral sex. Therefore, some cases of genital herpes are caused by HSV-1. Genital Herpes can be transmitted through oral, vaginal, and/or anal sex with a person who has virus. While there is no cure for herpes, there are treatments that can prevent and/or shorten an outbreak.


Genital herpes is transmitted through direct contact with an infected person's skin or bodily fluids during sexual activity. The virus can be spread even if there are no visible symptoms. Using barrier methods can help reduce the risk of transmission, but the best way to prevent the spread of genital herpes is to avoid sexual contact with an infected person or to be in a mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has tested negative for the virus.

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Preventing the spread of genital herpes involves the following measures:

  • Abstinence: Avoiding sexual contact with an infected person is the most effective way to prevent transmission.
  • Barrier methods: Using barrier methods such as condoms and dental dams during sexual activity can help reduce the risk of transmission. However, they are not 100% effective.
  • Antiviral medication: Taking antiviral medication as prescribed by a healthcare provider can help manage symptoms and reduce the frequency and severity of outbreaks. It can also reduce the risk of transmission.
  • Communication: Being open and honest with sexual partners about herpes status and discussing ways to prevent transmission can help reduce the risk of spread.
  • Testing: Getting tested for herpes and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) regularly can help detect infections early and prevent transmission to others.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of herpes can vary depending on the location of the infection and the type of herpes virus.

Symptoms of genital herpes (HSV-2):

  • A group of itchy or painful blisters on the vagina, anus, vulva, cervix, penis, or inside of thighs
  • Burning when peeing if urine touches the blisters
  • Difficulty peeing because the blisters are blocking the urethra
  • Pain around the genital
  • Swollen glands
  • Fever/chills


Effective medications recommended for treatment of oral herpes are antiviral medications. These medications can prevent cold sores or shorten outbreaks. Daily suppressive therapy can also reduce the likelihood of transmission to partners.


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