Genital herpes infections are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Symptoms may include painful blisters or open sores in the genital, buttock or rectal area. Tingling or burning sensation in the legs, buttocks or genital area may happen just before the blisters show up. The herpes sores usually disappear within a few days.
The virus stays in the body for life, and the sores may return from time to time. There is no cure for HSV. But medicine can shorten an outbreak and ease symptoms. It can also be used to prevent outbreaks. HSV can be passed on from the mouth to the genitals during oral sex. The virus can be passed on to sexual partners even if the person has no visible blisters. This is from so-called asymptomatic shedding of the infection. HSV can also be spread to a baby at the time of childbirth. This causes a very severe infection in the baby.
Frequently Asked Questions
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Infectious Diseases Treatment at Children's National Hospital
Our Division of Infectious Diseases is the major referral center for infectious diseases in the Washington, D.C., area, helping thousands of young patients each year with contagious conditions. Discover more about the treatments we offer.
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Departments that Treat Herpes
The Division of Dermatology at Children's National Hospital continues to expand services as more families seek our expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the skin, hair and nails.