Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
Diagnosis is usually done by recognizing the skin changes in the genital area but viral cultures, genetic amplification of HSV genome material and other tests may be done.
There is no cure for genital herpes.
Antiviral medications are used to reduce the severity and frequency of genital herpes.
Some home remedies may help reduce symptom severity, but provide no cure.
Oral antiviral medications may be used in pregnancy: check with your OB/GYN before taking any medications if you are pregnant.
The prognosis of genital herpes is variable: there is no cure, and the recurrent outbreaks may vary in frequency and severity.
Genital herpes prevention is difficult. Condoms may prevent the disease spread during sex, but not in areas of skin not covered by a condom or during oral to genital contact. Clothing that touches genital skin ulcers may transmit HSV to others that wear the clothing.
What is genital herpes?
Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by an infection with the herpes simplex virus (HSV). There are two types of HSV. HSV-1 is most commonly associated with blistering lesions around the mouth known as cold sores. HSV-2 is associated with blistering lesions in genital areas that are exposed during sexual contact. However, both types of HSV can infect the mouth or the genital areas. After the initial outbreak of herpes, the virus travels through the nerves and resides in nerve tissue within the body. Reactivations, or repeat occurrences of the blisters, can occur throughout an individual's lifetime. Among people aged 14 to 49, an estimated 1 out of every 6 people have the infection.
Genital herpes is a common condition affecting around 45 million people in the U.S. The herpes viruses responsible for genital herpes (herpes simplex virus type 2, or HSV-2; and, less commonly, herpes simplex virus type 1 or HSV-1) are transmitted through close personal contact such as sexual contact.