HEALTH MATTERS: What you need to know about genital herpes

October 2006 
Volume 36  Number 10
Pages 26 - 27
  PDF Version Available!



Janelle Gardner is an associate professor of nursing at California State University, Chico, and specializes in obstetrics.

GENITAL HERPES is a recurrent, often-painful sexually transmitted disease caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV). Although both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can cause genital herpes, HSV-2 is the more likely culprit; HSV-1 usually causes oral lesions (cold sores or fever blisters).

Nationwide, at least 50 million people are infected with genital herpes, with an estimated 1.6 million more becoming infected annually. In this article, I'll tell you how to recognize the infection and what to teach your patient about managing it and preventing transmission to others.

Who's at risk?

About one in four women and one in five men have this disease. Having multiple sexual partners is the strongest predictor of genital herpes. Other risk factors include:

* being sexually active before age ...

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