Genital Herpes: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 3/3/2021

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection (also known as a sexually transmitted disease or STD) that affects the genital regions.

Signs and symptoms typically occur in outbreaks that are separated by a variable length of time. Once the virus resides in the body, an outbreak can occur at any time. People who carry the virus and do not have symptoms and signs can still spread the virus to others. During an outbreak, signs and symptoms include painful, small skin blisters on the genitals that pop and then ooze or bleed. Other associated symptoms and signs can include

Cause of genital herpes

Infection with the herpes virus type 2 (HSV-2) causes genital herpes, and it spreads among humans by any kind of sexual contact.

Other genital herpes symptoms and signs

  • Itching
  • Painful Urination
  • Painful, Small Skin Blisters on the Genitals That Pop and Then Ooze or Bleed
  • Penile Pain
  • Sensation of Pins and Needles
  • Skin Rash
  • Vaginal Pain


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.