What Is Genital Herpes?

Genital herpes (also known as Herpes Simplex Virus 2 or HSV 2) is a virus that causes genital sores, not to be confused with Herpes Simplex Virus 1, which causes cold sores. Genital Herpes lies dormant in the sacral ganglia, which are the spinal nerves, located at the base of the spine.

Although, it is important to remember that genital herpes can show up in either 2 locations (as oral or genital sores), just as oral herpes can show up in either of these 2 locations. The symptoms between Herpes Simplex 1, and Herpes Simplex 2 are similar. For example, if someone with oral herpes, or Herpes Simplex 1 virus performs oral sex on you, you have a serious risk of contracting genital herpes, otherwise known as the Herpes Simplex 2 virus. Wherever the virus enters the body is where symptoms may show up. Because of this, testing is important. See “Testing for Genital Herpes”.

Genital herpes is a viral infection, and sexually transmitted disease affecting men and women. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this infection. In most people, genital herpes has few or mild symptoms, and/or they don’t connect the symptoms with genital herpes. Most people who have this infection are not aware of it. When signs of genital herpes appear, they show up as blisters or lesions on or around the genitals and/or the rectum. The blisters will break, leaving a sore. The sore will be tender, hence the term, and will heal in approximately 2 to 4 weeks if it is the first outbreak. In subsequent outbreaks, they are generally less severe, and heal quicker. The sores can recur, and be painful. And in people with a low immune system, it can be worse. Or people with an already low immune system may have an increased susceptibility.

Even if you don’t have any outbreaks, you may still have genital herpes. For people who are chronically ill, or newborn babies, genital herpes can be serious. Fatality is very rare. It can also infect the eye, which is serious. Your eye will feel painful, and sensitive to light. There will also be a discharge, and feel generally grainy. If an eye infection is suspected, you must go see a health care professional immediately, or it could lead to a condition called herpes keratitis. Herpes keratitis will lead to scarring of the cornea.