Genital herpes is caused by a virus called herpes simplex. There are two types of this virus. Type 2 is the type that usually causes genital herpes. But type 1 can also cause it. Type 1 is the type that causes cold sores.
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). The most common way to get it is through sexual or other contact with someone who has herpes. For example, the virus can spread from a sore in the genital area to the lips. And it can spread from a cold sore on the lips to the genital area.
Some people are surprised to find out that they have herpes or that they gave it to someone else. This is because a lot of people who have it don't know that they have it. They may not get sores or they may have sores that they cannot see. But the virus can still be spread by a person who does not have obvious sores or symptoms.
There is no cure for herpes, but antiviral medicine can help you feel better and help prevent more outbreaks. This medicine may also lower the chance of spreading the virus.
Finding out that you have genital herpes can cause a wide range of emotions. You may feel angry or upset. You may also feel bad about yourself or about sex. Counselling or a support group may help you feel better. And as you get older, you may not get as many outbreaks. The sores may also heal faster and not hurt as much.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
To protect yourself
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: November 27, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Kevin C. Kiley, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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