Conditions InDepth: Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is a very common, highly contagious sexually transmitted disease (STD) found in both women and men. It is one of the most commonly reported infectious diseases in the United States. It often goes unreported because many people don't know they have it, as symptoms can be mild, or mistaken for something else. Genital herpes is a chronic, lifelong infection with symptoms that come and go throughout life. Left untreated, genital herpes can cause serious complications. It is not curable, but it can be managed.

Causes

Genital herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). It is most often caused by HSV-2 but can also be caused by HSV-1 the version of HSV most often associated with cold sores around the mouth. The virus can be spread through contact with lesions and bodily fluids including oral or genital secretions. The virus can enter your body through a cut or opening in the skin, or through the moist inner lining of the urinary tract, vaginal area, the mouth, anus, or rectum. The HSV-2 virus is very contagious and can spread even when open lesions are not present. The HSV-1 virus can be passed through oral sex if a partner has cold sores on the mouth. You can be exposed to more than one STD at a time such as HIV and syphilis. Your doctor may test for other STDs if genital herpes is suspected or diagnosed. You can be exposed to more than one STD at a time such as HIV and syphilis. Your doctor may test for other STDs if genital herpes is suspected or diagnosed.What are the risk factors for genital herpes?What are the symptoms of genital herpes?How is genital herpes diagnosed?What are the treatments for genital herpes?Are there screening tests for genital herpesHow can I reduce my risk of genital herpes?What questions should I ask my doctor?Where can I get more information about genital herpes?

References

Beauman JG. Genital herpes: A review. Am Fam Physician. 2005;72(8):1527-1534.

Genital herpes—CDC fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/stdfact-herpes-detailed.htm. Updated February 13, 2013. Accessed October 15, 2014.

Herpes genitalis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated September 8, 2014. Accessed October 15, 2014.

Workowski KA, Berman S, et al. Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, 2010. MMWR. 2010;59(No. RR-12):1-110.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: David Horn, MD
  • Review Date: 05/2014
  • Update Date: 10/15/2014

leave comments
0
Did you like this? Share with your family and friends.
Related Topics:
Current Research From Top Journals


Early Peanut Consumption Associated with Lower Risk of Peanut Allergy in High Risk Children
March 2015

Many medical groups felt that early exposure to certain foods like peanuts increased a child's risk of developing food allergies. However, newer research including this trial suggest that early exposure may actually decrease the risk of developing food allergies.

dot separator
previous editions

Breastfeeding May Decrease the Risk of Childhood Obesity
February 2015

Tonsillectomy May Reduce Number of Sore Throat Days in Children
February 2015

Research Review Finds Little Support for Nearly Half of Medical Talk Show Recommendations
January 2015

dashed separator

Advertisement

Our Free Newsletter
click here to see all of our uplifting newsletters »

 

Advertisement

Advertisement

DiggDeliciousNewsvineRedditStumbleTechnoratiFacebook