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Herpes (HSV)

Symptoms

- Blisters, sores on genital area- Sores on lips, tongue
- Pain or burning while urinating 

There are two kinds of herpes. HSV-1 causes cold sores and fever blisters on the mouth but can be spread to the genitals; HSV-2 is usually on the genitals but it can be spread to the mouth.

Nearly two-thirds of people who are infected with herpes don’t even realize it. An outbreak can cause red bumps that turn into painful blisters or sores on the vagina, penis, buttocks, thighs, or elsewhere. During the first attack, it can also lead to flu-like symptoms, including fever, headaches, and swollen glands. Symptoms usually appear within two weeks of infection but can take longer in some cases. The first outbreak is usually more severe than later recurrences.

What it is: Viral infection of the genital area and/or around the mouth.

How many get it
About 1 million new cases each year; an estimated 45 million cases already exist.

How it's spread
By touching an infected area or having unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse. Warning: some people may be contagious even when they don’t have symptoms.

Treatment
There is no cure. An antiviral drug can help the pain and itching and also reduce the frequency of recurrent outbreaks.

Possible consequences
Recurrent sores (the virus lives in the nerve roots and keeps coming back), as well as increased risk of HIV infection. Transmission of herpes to newborns is rare. Most mothers with a history of herpes have normal vaginal deliveries. However, an infant who gets herpes can become very ill, so some precautions are advisable

Related Links

American Social Health Association

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