have no symptoms. Others get sores near the area
where the virus has entered the body. They turn into
blisters, become itchy and painful, and then heal.
The virus can be dangerous in newborn babies or in
people with weak immune systems.
Most people have outbreaks several times a year.
Over time, you get them less often. Medicines to
help your body fight the virus can help lessen
symptoms and decrease outbreaks. Correct usage of
latex condoms can reduce, but not eliminate, the
risk of catching or spreading herpes.
Genital herpes is caused by herpes simplex virus
(HSV). There are two types of HSV.
Untreated, the symptoms will generally subside in
1 to 2 weeks. Antiviral medications given by mouth
may shorten the course of the symptoms and decrease
Sores caused by Herpes often come back again and
again. The antiviral medicines work best if you take
it when the virus is just starting to come back --
before you see any sores. If you the virus returns
frequently, your doctor may recommend that you take
the medicines all the time.
Wash blisters gently with soap and water to
minimize the spread of the virus to other areas of
skin. An antiseptic soap may be recommended.
Applying ice or warmth to the area may reduce pain.
Take precautions to avoid infecting others.
Avoid direct contact with cold sores or other
herpes lesions. Minimize the risk of indirect spread
by thoroughly washing items in hot (preferably
boiling) water before re-use. Do not share items
with an infected person, especially when herpes
lesions are active. Avoid precipitating causes
(especially sun exposure) if prone to oral herpes.
Avoid performing oral sex when you have active
herpes lesions on or near your mouth and avoid
passive oral sex with someone who has active oral or
genital herpes lesions. Condoms can help reduce, but
do not entirely eliminate, the risk of transmission
via oral or genital sex with an infected person.
Unfortunately, both oral and genital herpes
viruses can sometimes be transmitted even when the
person does not have active lesions
The Herpes Resource Center (HRC) has an
affiliated network of local support (HELP) groups
for people concerned about herpes simplex virus. The
groups provide a safe, confidential environment
where participants can get accurate information and
share experiences, fears, and feelings with others
who are concerned about herpes. For information on
obtaining written publications on the herpes simplex
virus, call ASHA's
(American Social Health Assn.) STI Resource
Center at (800) 227-8922.