Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Herpes Genitalis Overview

What is herpes genitalis?
A person with herpes genitalis has an infection caused by herpes simplex virus type 2, which is spread by sexual contact. The infection causes painful blisters and ulcers on the skin that covers the genitals. About 1 out of 6 adults in the US have herpes genitalis. After the initial infection, the virus causes temporary symptoms that resolve, but additional episodes are common.

What are the symptoms of herpes genitalis?
Symptoms of herpes genitalis include genital pain, vaginal pain, genital sores, penile discharge, vaginal discharge. Less common symptoms of herpes genitalis include fever, headache, muscle aches, pain during urination, and swollen lymph glands in the groin. After the initial infection, symptoms of herpes genitalis usually lasts 14 to 21 days. Additional episodes are usually more mild and last for 7 to 10 days.

How does the doctor treat herpes genitalis?
There is no cure for herpes genitalis, but medication can help prevent episodes and reduce symptoms. Treatment for herpes genitalis includes antiviral medications, antibiotic ointment, and pain medication.

Continue to Herpes Genitalis Incidence

Last Updated: Sep 25, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Herpes Genitalis References
  1. Corey L, Ashley R; Valaciclovir HSV Transmission Study Group. Prevention of herpes simplex virus type 2 transmission with antiviral therapy. Herpes. 2004 Aug;11 Suppl 3:170A-174A. [15319087]
  2. Spruance SL, Tyring SK, DeGregorio B, Miller C, Beutner K. A large-scale, placebo-controlled, dose-ranging trial of peroral valaciclovir for episodic treatment of recurrent herpes genitalis. Valaciclovir HSV Study Group. Arch Intern Med. 1996 Aug 12-26;156(15):1729-35. [8694673]
  3. Weiss H. Epidemiology of herpes simplex virus type 2 infection in the developing world. Herpes. 2004 Apr;11 Suppl 1:24A-35A. [15115627]
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