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Genital Herpes

HSV - Herpes Simplex Virus

Genital herpes is a painful STI that causes sores on or around the penis, vagina and/or anus. It is spread through skin-to-skin contact with an infected person during oral, anal, and/or vaginal sex.

There is no cure for herpes, but treatment options exist. Some people don't have any symptoms at all, some will only have one painful herpes outbreak, while others will have outbreaks for their entire life. If you are diagnosed, your nurse or doctor can prescribe antiviral medication medication that will help reduce the frequency and length of outbreaks.

It is easier to get herpes from a person when they have a sore (outbreak). It is also possible to get infected when there are no visible sores.  If infected with herpes, both males and females may notice a tingly or itchy feeling in the genital area. Soon after, there will be a cluster of tiny blisters. When the blisters burst they leave behind painful sores; these sores last two to four weeks.

To help protect yourself against genital herpes, always use condoms and dental dams during sex, avoid sex with a person who has active sores on or around their genitals, and avoid oral sex with a person who has an active cold sore.  This may not always protect you but it will help.

If you are pregnant or become pregnant and you have herpes, tell your doctor. A mother can pass the herpes virus onto her baby during delivery causing lesions (cuts) and possibly life-threatening infections in the central nervous system of the baby.

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