Symptoms and Signs of Genital Herpes

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/30/2019

Doctor's Notes on Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is an infection of the genital area in men or women caused by the herpes simplex (HSV) viruses. Genital herpes is more commonly caused by the HSV type 2 (HSV-2) than HSV-1, which more often causes cold sores of the mouth.

Genital herpes causes symptoms that occur in outbreaks and recur over time. The virus remains dormant in the body between outbreaks. It is possible to be infected with genital herpes and not show symptoms at a given time. When symptoms (outbreaks) do occur, these include a red, blistering, intensely painful rash on the genitals. Other symptoms can include ulcer formation after the blisters burst and a tingling, itching, or burning sensation in the skin prior to an outbreak.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.