Genital Herpes Overview
Genital herpes is a common, highly infectious disease caused by a virus that
infects genital areas. It is transmitted from one person to another during sexual activity. Genital herpes causes blisters or groups of small ulcers (open sores) on and around the genitals in both men and women.
Genital herpes cannot be cured; however, there are medications that can be
prescribed to treat outbreaks and minimize the symptoms.
- Genital herpes is extremely widespread, largely
because it is so contagious. Carriers can transmit the disease without having
any symptoms of an active infection.
- At least 45 million Americans are infected with the genital herpes virus, with
approximately one million new infections each year. About one out of six people
14 to 49 years of age have genital HSV-2 infection. As many as 80%-90% of those infected fail to recognize
genital herpes symptoms or have no symptoms at all.
- The highest rates of infection are seen among the poor, those with less education, those using
cocaine, and those with many sexual partners.
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