Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease that causes blisters and ulcers in the genital area. Learn more ›

Genital Herpes Facts

Genital herpes is not curable, but it is preventable and controllable in many cases. Genital herpes is diagnosed by testing a small sample of cells or drainage taken from the suspected herpes blister or lesion. A blood test can also check for the specific antibodies that are produced by the immune system in response to a genital herpes infection.

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Living with Herpes

  • Start episodic treatment at the first sign of symptoms, such as itching or tingling.

  • Take ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin to limit any pain.

  • Sit in a warm bath or use a moist compress to lessen the itching of sores. For some women, genital outbreaks cause burning during urination. In such cases, urinating in a tub of warm water helps reduce burning.

  • Wear white cotton underwear and loose clothing during outbreaks. Don’t wear nylon underwear or tight clothes. They can prevent sores from healing.

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10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Genital Herpes

  1. What causes genital herpes? Can it be cured?

  2. How is genital herpes spread?

  3. What are common symptoms of genital herpes?

  4. How long does a genital herpes outbreak usually last? How often do outbreaks occur?

  5. Are medications available to treat genital herpes? How do they work?

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Herpes is a chronic (lifelong) virus. It can cause sores and discomfort. You get it from contact with someone who carries the virus. If sores occur on the lips, you have oral herpes. If sores occur on the penis or around the vagina, you have genital herpes.

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What You Need to Know About STDs

When it comes to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), you may not have any warning signs. If you are sexually active, find out the facts about STDs, and learn how to protect yourself.

Myth: If you or your partner had an STD, you would see signs.

Fact: Many STDs have no symptoms or only mild symptoms, especially in women. Some STDs may have symptoms that go away for a while but then come back. STDs can damage your body, and you can spread them to your partner even if you have no symptoms.

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Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infectious diseases transmitted through sexual contact. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 19 million new cases occur annually in the US. Fifty percent of the new infections occur in people between the age range of 15 to 24 years.

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Your Guide to Genital Herpes

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Did You Know?

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Which of these is NOT a common infection site for genital herpes?