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Basic Fact Sheet | Detailed Version Detailed fact sheets are intended for physicians and individuals with specific questions about sexually transmitted diseases.
Detailed fact sheets include specific testing and treatment recommendations as well as citations so the reader can research the topic more in depth.
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) or type 2 (HSV-2).
Genital herpes infection is common in the United States.
This service is provided by the National Network of STD Clinical Prevention Training Centers and operates five days a week.
Generally, a person can only get HSV-2 infection during genital contact with someone who has a genital HSV-2 infection.
However, receiving oral sex from a person with an oral HSV-1 infection can result in getting a genital HSV-1 infection.
The first outbreak of herpes is often associated with a longer duration of herpetic lesions, increased viral shedding (making HSV transmission more likely) and systemic symptoms including fever, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, or headache.
Recurrent outbreaks of genital herpes are common, and many patients who recognize recurrences have prodromal symptoms, either localized genital pain, or tingling or shooting pains in the legs, hips or buttocks, which occur hours to days before the eruption of herpetic lesions.Sex partners of infected persons should be advised that they may become infected and they should use condoms to reduce the risk.