Genital herpes (also called HSV infection) is a viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). It is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that may cause skin blisters and sores in the genital area but often causes no visible symptoms.
It is possible to get genital herpes through sexual contact with an infected person even if he or she has no symptoms. After a person is infected for the first time, HSV stays in the body for life. Some people may have only a single outbreak of herpes. Other people will have repeated outbreaks. Medicine can reduce the number and severity of herpes outbreaks. But it cannot cure the infection.
Last Revised: December 21, 2010
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Jeanne Marrazzo, MD, MPH - Infectious Disease
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