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Genital Herpes

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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Herpes simplex viruses (HSVs) are ubiquitous, extremely host-adapted pathogens that can cause a wide variety of illnesses.

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