herpes center

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Genital Herpes Center

Detailed Information

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease that affects over forty million people. Estimates state that each year more than five hundred thousand new cases develop.

Genital herpes is a viral infection that develops usually through sexual contact. It is possible to contract the disease via contact with hands that have been contaminated by the virus, but this is very rare. There is no cure for genital herpes. Once you've been infected, the virus remains in the nerve cells in latent form.

The initial outbreak of painful sores on and around the genitals (following an incubation period that usually spans five to 10 days) can last anywhere from one to three weeks. After the first one, the infected person goes into remission and may have more mild attacks every few months or years. Permanent remission can and does occur in one-third of infected individuals.

Genital herpes is extremely contagious. Even if you exhibit no symptoms of the disease, you can still transmit the virus to your partner if you have it. Men can give women the disease more easily than the other way around. An infected mother can give it to her baby during childbirth; that baby is then subject to mental retardation, loss of vision and death. Contracting it puts you at greater risk of contracting HIV (the virus that causes AIDS).

References and Sources: Medline, Pubmed, National Institutes of Health

last update: December 2008

This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this material to diagnose or treat a health condition or disease without consulting with your healthcare provider.
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