Genital herpes is an STD that is caused by the herpes simplex 2 virus. Once infected with a genital herpes virus, it stays in your body forever. The virus can be transmitted through unprotected sex. Because being infected with HSV 2 makes you more susceptible to other sexually transmitted infections, it is very important that you and your partner are tested for STDs.
A genital herpes infection is characterised by blisters or small sores on the skin and mucous membranes of the penis, vagina or anus. Other symptoms that may go with the first episode of genital herpes are fever and muscle aches. The blisters are often quite painful. It is common for the blisters to open up, after which the sores scab over and heal. The fluid in the blisters contains the active virus, so the blisters are highly contagious. The virus can also be transmitted via the hands, by touching the blisters and then touching other parts of the body, such as the genitals.
The symptoms of a genital herpes infection particularly appear when resistance is low. Although genital herpes cannot be cured, there now are several treatments available to help alleviate symptoms and reduce the duration of outbreaks. See below for a list of medicines.