Herpes

Genital Herpes

What is genital herpes?

Genital herpes is a sexually
transmitted disease. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Herpes infections
can cause blisters and ulcers on the mouth or face (oral herpes). They can also cause
sores in the genital area (genital herpes). HSV is a lifelong infection.

Symptoms of genital herpes

Symptoms may include painful
blisters or open sores in the genital area. They may tingle or itch. Before these
symptoms appear, you may feel a tingling or burning feeling in your legs, buttocks,
or
genital area. The herpes sores often go away within a few weeks. But the virus stays
in
the body. The sores may come back from time to time.

How does genital HSV affect
pregnancy?

It’s important not to get herpes
during pregnancy. A first flare-up during pregnancy raises the risk of spreading it
to
your newborn. You may be treated with an antiviral medicine such as acyclovir if the
disease is severe. The disease can cause a possibly fatal infection in your baby if
you
have active genital herpes (shedding the virus) at the time of birth. Cesarean delivery
is often recommended for active genital herpes. Fortunately, infection of a baby is
rare
among women with genital herpes.

Preventing transmission of herpes

It’s important not to have sex when
you have symptoms of active herpes. Also use latex condoms between outbreaks.