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Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). The most common way to get it is through sexual or other physical contact with someone who has herpes.
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.
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 can't see.
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.
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 advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) 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.
It's easier to prevent an STI than it is to treat one:
Vaccines are available for some STIs, such as HPV. Ask your doctor for more information.
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Current as of: November 17, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Kevin C. Kiley MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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