Updated: Mar 19
Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Genital herpes cannot be cured, but it can be treated. Genital herpes sores usually heal within two to three weeks. However, the first outbreak of genital sores may last longer and be more severe than recurring outbreaks. Genital herpes infection increases the risk for acquiring and transmitting HIV infection; therefore, there are medications available that can suppress recurrences and reduce transmission risk.
Genital herpes sores usually heal within two to three weeks. Genital herpes is spread by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the disease. However, the first outbreak of genital sores may last longer and be more severe than recurring outbreaks. Genital herpes infection increases the risk for acquiring and transmitting HIV infection; therefore, there are medications available that can suppress recurrences and reduce transmission risk.
Prevalence of Genital Herpes in Women Genital herpes is common in developed countries. Studies show that one out of every five to six persons 14 years of age and older has genital herpes caused by HSV-2 (the most common cause of genital herpes). Most people have few or no symptoms at all. Genital herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) causes genital herpes while herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) causes facial cold sores. The first outbreak of herpes usually appears within two to 20 days after sexual exposure to the virus, but may take longer. Other early signs and symptoms include burning during urination, an itching/tingling sensation around the genitals or anus, vaginal discharge, pain when passing urine.
Prevention Genital Herpes in Women Genital herpes is spread by direct skin-to-skin contact with a person who has the disease while they are shedding HSV (during an active outbreak). Genital herpes is transmitted through direct skin-to-skin contact with someone who has herpes lesions on his or her mouth or genitals. Genital herpes can be transmitted even if there are no visible sores or fluids.
Testing Genital Herpes in Women Genital herpes is diagnosed through testing for HSV antibodies which are found in an infected person’s blood. Genital herpes can be diagnosed clinically by the healthcare provider if sores are present during clinical evaluations of suspicious lesions.
Treatment Genital Herpes in Women is treated with antiviral medications which can be taken during an outbreak of genital sores or daily to decrease the risk of spreading the disease.
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