Teen STI Card—Genital Herpes
Think you can’t get genital herpes? Are you sure?
What is it?
Genital herpes is a common infection caused by the herpes simples virus, usually, HSV-2. One in 6 Americans 14 and older has genital herpes.1
Who gets it?
Both men and women
Every year, more than 9 million young Americans from the ages of 14 – 24, get a sexually transmitted infection (STI).2 If you’ve had vaginal, oral, or anal sex, you could be infected with one or more STIs, including genital herpes. Some STIs cause symptoms. Others don’t. You could have one now and not even know it. Just because you don’t know you’re infected doesn’t mean you’re not being affected. Some STIs make you sick today and others cause problems later in life-serious problems like cancer or infertility.3 So get your facts straight about GENITAL HERPES.
How you get it:
From having sex (vaginal, anal or oral sex) with an infected person.
How will I know if I’m infected?
Most people with genital herpes infection (HSV-2) don’t know they are infected. When symptoms are present, they often include blisters or sores in the genital area. Infected people can also have pain and burning when going to the bathroom.4 HSV-2 has a relative: HSV-1. Infection with HSV-1 causes cold sores and fever blisters, usually in and around the mouth. HSV-1 can also infect the genital area.1
How do you treat genital herpes?
Antiviral medications help the symptoms, but can’t cure the disease. People who have one painful skin outbreak of genital herpes almost always have other outbreaks.5 If you have genital herpes-even if you don’t have blisters or sores-you can spread the infection during sex. And if you have genital herpes and have sex with a person who is infected with HIV, your chances for catching HIV increase.6
What can I do to avoid being infected with genital herpes?
Avoid sexual activity if you are single. Be faithful to one uninfected partner for the rest of your life. Already had sex? See a doctor and get checked out- and next time get your facts straight.
To help you know which STIs to be tested for, go to www.stdwizard.org
1 1. Xu F, Sternberg MR, Kottiri BJ, et al. Trends in herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2 seroprevalence in the United States. JAMA. 2006;296(8):964-973.
2 Satterwhite CL, Torrone E, Meites E, et al, “Sexually Transmitted Infections Among US Women and Men: Prevalence and Incidence Estimates, 2008,” Sexually Transmitted Dis. 2013 Mar, 40(3): 187-93
3 Mayo Clinic, “Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)” http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sexually-transmitted-diseases-stds/basics/complications/con-20034128
4 Centers for Disease Control, “Genital Herpes- CDC Fact Sheet http://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/stdfact-herpes.htm
5 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2010. MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 2010. 59(RR-12): 21–22.
6 Barnabas RV, Celum C, Infectious co-factors in HIV-1 transmission herpes simplex virus type-2 and HIV-1: new insights and interventions. Curr HIV Res, 2012. 10(3): 228–37