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Genital Herpes Simplex


Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). It is spread through oral, vaginal, or anal sex. It may be spread even if you do not see blisters. It can also be spread to other areas of your body, including your eyes, by touching open blisters. If you are pregnant, it may be spread to your baby while he is still in your womb or during vaginal delivery.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


  • Antivirals: These help decrease symptoms and shorten the time you have the blisters. You may also need to take them daily to prevent blisters.
  • Topical anesthesia: This may be given to help numb the area and decrease pain.
  • Pain medicine: You may be given medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.


  • Blood tests: This may be done to check for HSV. You may also have this test if you have no symptoms but have a partner with genital herpes.
  • Discharge sample: Your healthcare provider may need to take a sample of fluid from the blisters. It may be looked at under a microscope or sent for a culture to see if HSV grows.


Genital herpes may cause pain in your genital area or when you urinate. If you have genital herpes during pregnancy, your baby is at risk of getting herpes. The infection may cause your baby to weigh less at birth, or damage his eyes and brain. Genital herpes may also increase your risk of a miscarriage (loss of your baby before he is born). HSV puts you at risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). An HSV infection can spread and cause swelling of other organs, such as your brain, lungs, and liver. HSV may also spread to your brain and spinal cord, causing serious infections called encephalitis and meningitis.


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 caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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.