Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease that is caused by the herpes simplex virus. It is estimated that at least one in five adults in the United States is infected with the virus, but many people have no symptoms and do not realize that they are infected.
After getting infected, most people have recurrent episodes of genital ulcers for several years. Although the infection can stay in the body for years, symptom outbreaks become less and less common over time. The infection can be managed with medication and self-care measures.
People who have genital herpes are encouraged to talk to their sexual partner, use condoms, and take other preventive measures to prevent transmission (passing the virus to others). Genital herpes can be spread even when there are no visible ulcers or blisters.
Being diagnosed with genital herpes can be an emotional and distressing experience, and it is important to speak with your healthcare provider about how to manage symptoms and avoid passing the virus to sexual partners. Counseling and support groups can also be beneficial to individuals living with genital herpes infection.