Genital herpes (overview)
Herpes is an infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) and can appear in various parts of the body. Most commonly herpes occurs in the mouth and on the genitals (sex organs).
There are two types of this virus – HSV-1 is known as oral herpes (cold sores and fever blisters around the mouth or face) and HSV-2 (genital herpes).
Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection that occurs in both men and women. HSV-2 typically causes pain, itching and sores in the genital area and is contagious. A person may not even have visible sores, but is still capable of passing on the infection if sexual contact is made with another person.
Sexual contact is the main way this infection is transmitted (and spreads). A virus can be dormant in the body, but reactivate several times in a year. HSV-2 is treatable, but currently is not a curable condition.
Medications can alleviate symptoms and reduce the risk of infecting others. An additional preventative measure, which is highly recommended, is the correct use of condoms during sexual contact to reduce the risk of virus transmission.
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