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Genital Herpes Infection

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 7, 2024.

What is a genital herpes infection?

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). HSV has 2 types. A genital HSV infection is usually caused by HSV type 2. HSV type 1 usually affects the oral area but may also affect the genitals.

What increases my risk for a genital HSV infection?

What are the signs and symptoms of a genital HSV infection?

You may not have any signs or symptoms. Signs and symptoms that do develop may appear suddenly and last 8 days to 3 weeks. Symptoms will go away and may come back again. Your blisters may burst or join together to form large open sores. Sores on your skin will then dry up (crust over). You may also have any of the following:

How is a genital HSV infection diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine your blisters or sores. Your provider may ask if you have other medical conditions. Tell your provider when your blisters or sores started, and about your other symptoms. Tell your provider about any STIs you or your partner may have. You may also need any of the following:

How is a genital HSV infection treated?

An HSV infection cannot be cured. The blisters or sores may heal on their own within 8 days. The following may be used to treat or prevent symptoms:

How can I manage my symptoms?

How can I prevent the spread of HSV?

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.