Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Sexual contact is the primary way that the virus spreads. After the initial infection, the virus lies dormant in your body and can reactivate several times a year.
Genital herpes can cause pain, itching and sores in your genital area. But you may have no signs or symptoms of genital herpes. If infected, you can be contagious even if you have no visible sores.
There's no cure for genital herpes, but medications can ease symptoms and reduce the risk of infecting others. Condoms also can help prevent the spread of a genital herpes infection.
May 18, 2017
- Genital herpes: CDC detailed fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/stdfact-herpes-detailed.htm. Accessed Jan. 19, 2017.
- Klausner JD, et al., eds. Genital herpes. In: Current Diagnosis & Treatment of Sexually Transmitted Diseases. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2007. http://accessmedicine.com. Accessed Jan. 18, 2017.
- Albrecht MA. Epidemiology, clinical manifestations and diagnosis of genital herpes simplex virus infection. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 18, 2017.
- Longo DL, et al., eds. Herpes simplex virus infections. In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. http://accessmedicine.com. Accessed Jan. 18, 2017.
- Frequently asked questions. Gynecologic problems FAQ054. Genital herpes. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Genital-Herpes. Accessed Jan. 19, 2017.