Genital Herpes (HSV-2): Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment & Complications

What is Genital Herpes?

Genital herpes is an incurable sexually transmitted disease caused by the herpes simplex virus. Generally, HSV-1 affects the mouth, and HSV-2 is the one that causes genital herpes. However, both types can be transmitted from one area to the other during oral sex.


Genital herpes is most often spread through sex with an infected person. Additionally, it is possible to contract genital herpes from other close skin-on-skin contact. Transmission generally happens during:

  • Anal Sex
  • Oral Sex
  • Vaginal Sex

It is also possible for pregnant women to pass the infection on to their baby during childbirth.

Get tested for Genital Herpes (HSV-2)

Genital herpes does not generally cause other problems. However, it does increase your risk of contracting other STDs including HIV. Act immediately and get tested today!

Get tested for STDs today
Mark Riegel, MD
Mark Riegel, MD

Quick Snapshot

Can it be cured?

No. Viruses don't have cures, but symptoms can be controlled with proper treatment.

Type of Infection

Viral. Caused by the herpes simplex virus.

How is it treated?

Antiviral Medicine. Symptoms are treated with antiviral medications (Zovirax, Famvir, or Valtrex), however there is no cure.

Recovery Time

1 month or longer. The symptoms from the initial outbreak can take over 20 days to disappear.

Can I have sex?

Yes. During your initial outbreak, you should refrain from sex until all symptoms are gone.

Can I get re-infected?

Yes. Once you get infected, you will have the virus for life.

Do I Have Genital Herpes?

Find out whether or not you have Genital Herpes and what STD test is recommended using our anonymous symptom checker. Get your personalized recommendations now!

Genital Herpes Symptom Checker