School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine

Genital Herpes

Genital Herpes is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) usually caused by HSV-2. Generally, you can only get HSV-2 during sexual contact with someone who has a genital HSV-2 infection.

Some signs and symptoms of HSV-2 infection include blisters on or around the genitals or rectum and flu-like symptoms, such as fever and swollen glands. Most people have no signs or symptoms from HSV-2 infection, but they can still pass HSV-2 during sex.

During a typical outbreak, your doctor can tell if you have genital herpes by looking at your genital area and by taking a sample of a sore. In between outbreaks, a blood test is needed to tell if you are infected. Herpes may make it more likely for you to be infected with HIV if you are exposed to it. It also makes those infected with HIV more infectious.

Though there are medications that can shorten outbreaks, there is no cure for herpes. Herpes is spread through contact with the skin, so even correct condom use may not prevent infection if infected areas are not covered.

Ways to prevent Genital Herpes:

  • Abstain from sex.
  • Only have sex with one partner who has been tested and you know is not infected.