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This is Herpes
Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI), and most infected people do not know they have it.
Herpes is a common STI and there is no cure but treatment is available to reduce symptoms and decrease the risk of transmission to a partner.
CDC’s new estimates show that there are about 20 million new infections in the United States each year, costing the American healthcare system nearly $16 billion in direct medical costs alone. America’s youth shoulder a substantial burden of these infections. CDC estimates that half of all new STIs in the country occur among young men and women.
It’s an infection caused by two different but closely related viruses, called Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV-1) and Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 (HSV-2).
- HSV-1 is usually transmitted by touching and kissing but it can also be transmitted by sexual contact. Infections with HSV-1 may cause no symptoms or cold sores and/or fever blisters on the lips. It can also cause sores around the teeth and gums. HSV-1 is also spread by oral sexual contact and causes genital herpes.
- HSV-2 is almost always spread by sexual contact and causes genital herpes with painful lesions around the penis, anus, vulva, and cervix.
While there is no treatment that can cure herpes, antiviral medications 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. Persons with herpes should abstain from sexual activity with partners when sores or other symptoms of herpes are present.
Correct and consistent use of latex condoms can reduce the risk of genital herpes, because herpes symptoms can occur in both male and female genital areas that are covered or protected by a latex condom. However, outbreaks can occur in areas that are not covered by a condom. And remember that you can get genital herpes even if your partner shows no signs of the infection.
Photos courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention- Donated by Dr. N.J. Fiumara