Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD). The term STD means that the disease spreads from one person to other during vaginal, anal, or oral sexual contact.
Genital herpes is caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV). It can affect both men and women. After the initial infection the virus stays in the person’s body for life. The virus lies dormant in the body after the first infection and can reactivate several times a year. The recurrence of symptoms is called a "herpes outbreak." Some people can have recurrent symptoms many times in year whereas other may have recurrence even years apart. During a herpes outbreak, the dormant virus is activated and it travels down the nerve fibers to the site of the original infection where it causes the typical redness and blisters.
Signs and symptoms of genital herpes include pain, itching and sores in the genital area. But many people with herpes infection may have no signs or symptoms of genital herpes,-however these people can still be contagious.
There are two types of HSV - HSV type 1 and HSV type 2.Both the types of HSV can cause symptoms of genital herpes. However HSV type 1 generally causes sores on the lips (known as fever blisters or cold sores). HSV type 2 causes genital sores more commonly but it also cause sores in the mouth.
Currently there is no cure for genital herpes. Medications prescribed for a person with genital herpes can improve the symptoms and reduce the risk of infecting others. Use of safe sex methods such as condoms can possibly prevent transmission of the virus.
Genital herpes is a bad infection but it's not as common as considered and is not as dangerous as well.
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