What is Genital Herpes?

STI Commonly Caused by HSV-2

But can also be caused by Herpes Simplex Virus type-1 (HSV-1)

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Disclaimer: This information isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should never rely upon this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

If you or your partner have been diagnosed with genital herpes, you probably have a lot of questions about what to expect and how it will impact your life.

What Causes Genital Herpes?

Genital herpes is most commonly caused by Herpes Simplex Virus type 2 (HSV-2), although it is also increasingly caused by Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 (HSV-1). It is a sexually transmitted infection that can be transmitted even when the skin or genital mucosa appears normal (1).

How Common is Genital Herpes?

It’s quite common! The CDC estimates that there are 776,000 new cases of genital herpes in the U.S. each year. HSV-2, the virus that most commonly causes genital herpes, affects about 12% of the U.S. population (aged 14-49) (1).

What are the Symptoms of Genital Herpes?

Most people with genital herpes rarely, if ever, experience an outbreak. When an outbreak does occur, it generally involves open sores or ulcers found on the anal and/or genital regions. It is not uncommon for fever, body aches, and swollen lymph nodes to accompany these ulcers during the primary outbreak (2). Subsequent outbreaks tend to be less severe, usually as a rash alone without fever body aches and swollen lymph nodes.

You have the highest chance of transmitting the infection to others during an active outbreak, but transmission can occur even when the skin appears normal.

What is the Treatment for Genital Herpes?

Although there is no cure for genital herpes, there are excellent treatments available. There are three antiviral medicines commonly used to treat genital herpes—acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir. These can be used on an ongoing basis to prevent or suppress outbreaks, or they can be used to abort or shorten an episode when taken at the first sign or symptom of an outbreak (3).

At Roman, we offer treatment options that may help with genital herpes. To learn more visit, start an online visit with a Roman-affiliated physician today.


  1. STD Facts – Genital Herpes (Detailed version). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/stdfact-herpes-detailed.htm. Published January 31, 2017. Accessed April 4, 2019.
  2. Herpes simplex virus. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/herpes-simplex-virus. Published January 31, 2017. Accessed March 18, 2019.
  3. WHO Guidelines for the Treatment of Genital Herpes Simplex Virus. https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/250693/9789241549875-eng.pdf?sequence=11. Published 2016. Accessed April 4, 2019.

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