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S E X U A L L Y   T R A N S M I T T E D   D I S E A S E S:
Herpes


What is it? Infections are caused either by viruses (like HIV) or bacteria. Herpes is caused by a virus called HSV (Herpes Simplex virus).

How do you get it? Herpes is transmitted from person to person in three ways:

  • Unprotected sexual contact (vaginal, oral, or anal) with someone who has herpes.
  • Skin to skin contact with someone who has herpes.
  • Genital herpes can be passed even when no sores are present.

What are the symptoms? With genital herpes, symptoms are the same for men and women.

  • Painful blisters that break into open sores
  • Sores usually appear on or near the mouth, penis, vagina, or anus. They may be found on a woman's cervix (the opening to the uterus) where she may not notice them.
  • Sores will dry up and disappear in 5-21 days. (This doesn't mean the virus is gone, just the sores.)
  • Swollen glands

How can you know for sure? The sores are examined by a doctor. Fluid may be taken from a sore and sent to a lab. Blood may be tested for the herpes simplex virus.

How is it treated? Once a person is infected with the herpes simplex virus, it stays in their body forever. There is no cure. Pills or creams may speed up the healing of sores. Pills may help prevent the future appearance of symptoms.

What can happen if you don't take care of it? Untreated, the sores will go away, but they can return, often when a person is sick or under a lot of stress. If a woman has herpes at the time she gives birth, she can pass the virus on to her newborn child during delivery causing it serious illness or death. Herpes can spread to sexual partners and infect them even when sores are not present.

UNPROTECTED SEX PUTS YOU AT RISK FOR GETTING HERPES.

 

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