HSV-2 Overview

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Herpes Simplex Virus 2

What is Genital Herpes?

Genital herpes, a sexually transmitted disease (STD). It is and infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). The herpes simplex virus in the same family of viruses that causes chickenpox, shingles and mononucleosis. It can cause sores, or lesions, to appear in and around the vaginal area and within the cervix in women. In men, the sores or lesions appear on the penis and scrotum in men. Both males and females may also get lesions in the urinary tract, around the anal opening, on the buttocks or thighs, and sometimes on other parts of the body. Can you die from Genital Herpes? No. But it is often physically painful and emotionally debilitating. People who have genital herpes may suffer from painful sores as well as feelings of shame, regret, isolation, and undesirability. Symptoms of Genital Herpes? The most common symptoms are of genital herpes itching, burning, tingling, bumps, or swelling in or around the genital area. Most people with genital herpes don't know they have it, and are unaware they may be spreading it to others. Many people have no symptoms or mistake their symptoms for something else. Symptoms are often mistaken for: jock itch, insect bites, hemorrhoids, yeast infections, razor burn, or even allergies to laundry detergent. Complications of Genital Herpes? People with genital herpes are at greater risk of getting HIV if they have unprotected sex with someone infected with HIV. People with HIV who are also infected with genital herpes may have more frequent and severe outbreaks and their episodes may be more difficult to treat. How is Genital Herpes Diagnosed? Genital Herpes can be diagnosed with a blood test, even when no symptoms are apparent.

How is Genital Herpes Transmitted?

Genital herpes is spread only through direct skin-to-skin contact or mucous membrane contact. It can be transmitted through penile-vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, oral-genital sex, and other sexual body-to-body contact. Herpes is not transmitted through the air. However, it can be spread from one part of the body to another.

Treatment

Although there is no cure for genital herpes, there are medications that significantly reduce the frequency and duration of outbreaks and have few side effects in most people.  Statistics? Genital herpes is becoming an epidemic. Since the late 1970s, the number of Americans infected with the virus has increased 30 percent to about 45 million, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Genital herpes infects more than 1 of 5 adolescents and adults.*
  • Genital herpes is more common in blacks than in whites.*
  • Genital herpes is more likely to infect women than men. *
  • Compared to 20 years ago, it's about five times more common in 12- to 19-year-old whites and twice as common in adults ages 20 to 29. *
  • *Statistics from CDC.
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