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Herpes, Genital

Genital Herpes is a viral infection that is contracted through sexual contact. It affects both men and women alike, but statistically women are more prone to contract the disease. There are two types of the herpes virus, HSV-1 and HSV-2. In general, HSV-1 will result in lesions on the mouth or face and the virus hibernates near the ear, while HSV-2 results in lesions in the genital area and the virus hibernates in the spine. However, both viruses have been known to affect the opposite area. Herpes is transmitted through direct contact with the infected area usually through kissing or sexual intercourse. The infection may be obvious in the form a lesion but that is not always the case. It is possible to contract the disease from a person who has no obvious signs of an outbreak. Some carriers of the disease may have symptoms that are too mild to be detected. In these cases the disease may be passed on without the presence of a lesion.


Symptoms usually occur within two weeks of first contact with the disease and may take up to an additional two weeks to heal. The initial outbreak is usually the most severe resulting in several sores in the genital area or on the mouth. Subsequent outbreaks can occur anywhere from weeks to months after the first outbreak. Over time outbreaks tend to occur less frequently and are less serve in nature. Herpes affects about one in six people. The disease is not considered life threatening. Currently there is not cure for genital herpes. There are medications on the market designed to reduce the frequency of outbreaks and speed the healing process when an outbreak does occur. Practicing safe sex can help reduce your chance of contracting genital herpes. Contact your doctor if you believe you may have genital herpes to help prevent the spread of the disease.


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