What it is
Genital herpes is an infection caused by a virus (a kind of germ).
- You get the herpes virus by having sex with someone who has it.
- It can be spread by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex. It can also be spread by touching the
infected area of someone who has it.
- It causes small, painful sores or blisters. The sores can come and go. But once you get herpes,
the virus is always in your body.
Most people with herpes get signs of the infection. But some people don't.
Most people get blisters or sores. They can show up in any of these places:
- The vagina or penis
- The thighs or buttocks
- The mouth
These blisters or sores are different for everyone:
- Some people get a painful rash of blisters or sores.
- Some get only a blister or two that just itch.
- Some people feel like they have the flu along with the blisters.
The sores and blisters will heal.
- Some people get the sores only once.
- Some people get them many times.
Even when you have no sores or blisters, the herpes virus is in your body, and you can pass
herpes to others.
Herpes cannot be cured. It can cause these problems:
- You can pass it on to others.
- You have a higher chance of getting HIV (the virus that causes AIDS).
- Your baby could get herpes while being born.
If you have herpes and get pregnant:
- Tell your doctor you have herpes.
- Get prenatal care.