Genital herpes is a relatively common infection caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV) type one or two (HSV-1, HSV-2) respectively. It is acquired most commonly via sexual activity. More recently there has been an increase in infections due to HSV-1. Most new cases of genital HSV are not diagnosed due to HSV infections having short-lived signs and symptoms, or in many instances are asymptomatic. Hence many people infected with HSV are unaware that they have it. The risk of transmission to a partner is highest during outbreak periods, when there are visible lesions, although genital HSV can also be transmitted during asymptomatic periods. Use of condoms and antiviral medications assist in preventing transmission. Antiviral agents are effective in controlling clinical episodes, but do not eradicate infection, which remains latent for the life of a patient. Despite the surge in vaccine research, there is unfortunately no readily available preventative or therapeutic vaccine for HSV to date.
Keywords: HSV in pregnancy; HSV infection; HSV transmission; HSV treatment; genital herpes simplex virus (HSV).
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