Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI). The herpes simplex virus (HSV) causes genital herpes. Genital herpes can often be spread by skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity.
Some people infected with the virus may have very mild symptoms or no symptoms. They can still able to spread the virus. Other people have pain, itching and sores around the genitals, anus or mouth.
There is no cure for genital herpes. Symptoms often show up again after the first outbreak. Medicine can ease symptoms. It also lowers the risk of infecting others. Condoms can help prevent the spread of a genital herpes infection.
Most people infected with HSV don't know they have it. They may have no symptoms or have very mild symptoms.
Symptoms start about 2 to 12 days after exposure to the virus. They may include:
- Pain or itching around the genitals
- Small bumps or blisters around the genitals, anus or mouth
- Painful ulcers that form when blisters rupture and ooze or bleed
- Scabs that form as the ulcers heal
- Painful urination
- Discharge from the urethra, the tube that releases urine from the body
- Discharge from the vagina