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Home: Diseases & Conditions: Genital Herpes: Overview

Genital Herpes: Overview

Genital Herpes

Herpes Simplex is of two types- genital herpes and oral herpes (or cold sores).

Viruses- HSV1 and HSV2 both cause genital herpes.

Genital herpes is transmitted by an infected person to a healthy person. If your partner has cold sores and performs oral sex, you will contact genital herpes. Likewise if your partner has genital herpes, sexual contact will transmit herpes to you. The virus enters your body, through a cut in the skin or through mucous membrane. Our mouth, genitals and anus are covered with mucous membrane and therefore that is the easiest path for the virus to enter the body.

After you contact genital herpes, the virus remains in your body for your lifetime. There is no cure to remove the virus from body. Genital herpes is not a life threatening disease, but one who has genital herpes is more susceptible to contact HIV infection.

Genital herpes virus remains dormant in the body and when it gets triggered, it travels to the genital area and you will get an outbreak of blisters and sores. When it gets triggered, you will see blisters filled with fluid near your genitals or anus. After sometime these blisters crust and dry without any scar. The episodes may be accompanied by fever like symptoms. In most people, the first episode is the most severe. In some people, the symptoms during the first episode are so insignificant that they may ignore them altogether. Genital herpes keeps getting triggered from time to time. The frequency differs from person to person. During active herpes outbreak, the probability of transmitting it to another person is very high. But herpes can also be transmitted when no sores are seen.

Genital herpes has no cure. Antiviral medication is prescribed during the outbreak to reduce the intensity and the duration of the outbreak. Some people are advised long-term treatment with antiviral medication to prevent frequent outbreaks.

Browse the links below to know more about genital herpes.

Article updated on: May 26, 2008

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