Genital herpes

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). There are two types of herpes simplex viruses: HSV-1 and HSV-2. While both types can cause genital herpes, HSV-1 is more commonly associated with oral herpes (cold sores) but can also cause genital herpes through oral-genital contact.

Genital herpes is transmitted through sexual contact with an infected person, including vaginal, anal, or oral sex. The virus can be transmitted even when there are no visible symptoms present, as the virus can still be shed from the skin. However, the risk of transmission is higher during outbreaks when symptoms such as sores, blisters, or ulcers are present.

Symptoms of genital herpes can vary from person to person and may include:

Small red bumps, blisters, or open sores in the genital or anal area
Pain or itching in the genital or anal area
Burning sensation during urination
Flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, and swollen lymph nodes
It’s important to note that some individuals infected with HSV may never develop noticeable symptoms, but they can still transmit the virus to others.

There is no cure for genital herpes, but antiviral medications can help manage symptoms, reduce the frequency and severity of outbreaks, and lower the risk of transmitting the virus to sexual partners. Using condoms consistently and correctly during sexual activity can also reduce the risk of transmission, although it may not provide complete protection as the virus can be spread through skin-to-skin contact in areas not covered by a condom.

If you suspect you have genital herpes or have been exposed to the virus, it’s important to see a healthcare provider for testing and appropriate treatment. Additionally, practicing open communication with sexual partners and avoiding sexual activity during outbreaks can help prevent the spread of the virus.

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