July 9, 2006

Genital Herpes Can Be Spread Without Symptoms

Genital herpes is caused by a sexually transmitted virus, often leading to blisters on or near the genitals or rectum. These blisters eventually open into painful sores that take several weeks to heal. Over time, outbreaks tend to become less severe and last for shorter periods.

Although many people with genital herpes may not even know they are infected, the virus can lead to serious infections in babies born to mothers with the condition, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There is no cure for genital herpes, and an infected person with no symptoms can continue to infect sexual partners.

Certain medications, however, can help control herpes outbreaks.

Although use of a condom may reduce the risk of contracting or spreading genital herpes, the disease can still be spread if sores are located in an area that is not protected by the condom. The CDC says the best way to prevent herpes is to refrain from sexual activity with any potentially infected partner.

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