Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
(BPRW/FAMU-TALLAHASSEE) – Genital herpes impacts millions of lives each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 45 million people ages 12 and older, or one out of five adolescents and adults, have had genital herpes simplex virus infection. The disease may cause recurrent painful genital sores in adults, suppress an adult’s immune system, play a role in the spread of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), and can lead to potentially fatal infections in babies.
Genital herpes is incurable, but it can be treated, and there are ways to significantly prevent and control outbreaks. The signs and symptoms of the disease may vary from person to person. One person might have symptoms in the form of sores two weeks after the virus is transmitted. Another person may not. It is possible that a person becomes aware of the “first episode” years after the infection is acquired.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that people prevent the disease by following guidelines. People should abstain from sexual activity or be in a long-term monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and is known to be uninfected. Correct and consistent use of latex condoms can also reduce the risk of genital herpes as well. The solution to preventing and controlling genital herpes is to educate yourself about the disease and to know your partner.
For more information on the disease, please contact the Centers for Disease Control at 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636). You can also visit them online at http://www.cdc.gov.