STD Info » Herpes I & II
What is Herpes I & II? About Herpes I&II*
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the herpes simplex viruses
type 1 (HSV-1) or type 2 (HSV-2). Most genital herpes is caused by HSV-2. Most individuals have no or only minimal signs or symptoms from HSV-1 or HSV-2 infection. When signs do occur, they typically appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals or rectum. The blisters break, leaving tender ulcers (sores) that may take two to four weeks to heal the first time they occur. Typically, another outbreak can appear weeks or months after the first, but it almost always is less severe and shorter than the first outbreak. Although the infection can stay in the body indefinitely, the number of outbreaks tends to decrease over a period of years.
How common is Herpes?
Studies show that genital herpes virus is common in the United States. Nationwide, 16.2%, or about one out of six, people 14-49 years of age have genital HSV-2 infection. Over the past decade, the percentage of Americans with genital herpes infection in the U.S. has remained stable.
Genital HSV-2 infection is more common in women (approximately one out of five women 14-49 years of age) than in men (about one out of nine men 14-49 years of age).
What are the symptoms of herpes?
Most people infected with HSV-2 are not aware of their infection. However, if signs and symptoms occur during the first outbreak, they can be quite pronounced. The first outbreak usually occurs within two weeks after the virus is transmitted, and the sores typically heal within two to four weeks on the genitals. Other signs and symptoms during the primary episode may include a second crop of sores, and flu-like symptoms, including fever and swollen glands.
Diagnosis with a first episode of genital herpes can expect to have several (typically four or five) outbreaks (symptomatic recurrences) within a year. Over time these recurrences usually decrease in frequency. It is possible that a person becomes aware of the “first episode” years after the infection is acquired.
Risks & Complications
What happens if Herpes is left untreated?
Genital herpes can cause recurrent painful genital sores in many adults, and herpes infection can be severe in people with suppressed immune systems. Regardless of severity of symptoms, genital herpes frequently causes psychological distress in people who know they are infected.
Herpes may play a role in the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Herpes can make people more susceptible to HIV infection, and it can make HIV-infected individuals more infectious.
What happens if I’m pregnant and have herpes?
Genital HSV can lead to potentially fatal infections in babies. It is important that women avoid contracting herpes during pregnancy because a newly acquired infection during late pregnancy poses a greater risk of transmission to the baby. If a woman has active genital herpes at delivery, a cesarean delivery is usually performed. Fortunately, infection of a baby from a woman with herpes infection is rare.
How do I know if I have herpes?
Stress Free STD testing tests for Oral and Genital herpes, a simple blood test is all it takes. This test has been recommended by the cdc which detect anti-bodies in the blood stream. The test is offered in our Stress Free 8 Panel Test and individually Stress Free Herpes Test.
Is there treatment for herpes?
While there’s no cure for the virus, but antiviral medications used for herpes treatment can shorten and prevent outbreaks during the period of time the person takes the medication. In addition, daily suppressive therapy for symptomatic herpes can reduce transmission to partners. Get Tested and take control of your health.