Herpes | Overview

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What is herpes?

Herpes is the name of a group of viruses that cause painful blisters and sores. One kind of herpes (herpes simplex virus or HSV) causes both cold sores around the mouth and genital herpes (herpes around the sexual organs). Herpes zoster is another kind of herpes, and it causes chickenpox and shingles.

What about how I feel about having herpes?

It's common to feel guilty or ashamed when you are diagnosed with herpes. You may feel that your sex life is ruined or that someone you thought you could trust has hurt you. You may feel sad or upset.

Keep in mind that you are one of millions of people who have herpes. Herpes may get less severe as time goes by, and you can help protect your sex partner by not having sex during outbreaks and by using condoms at other times. Talk to your family doctor about how you're feeling.

Tips on dealing with herpes

  • Talk to your doctor if you think you may have herpes.
  • Remember that you're not alone. Millions of people have herpes.
  • Keep yourself healthy and limit your stress.
  • Don't touch your sores.
  • Tell your sex partner and use condoms.

Source

Neonatal Herpes Simplex Virus Infections by Caroline M. Rudnick, M.D., PH.D., and Grant S. Hoekzema, M.D. (American Family Physician March 15, 2002, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20020315/1138.html)

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 03/14
Created: 01/96

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