Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease, affecting more than 400 million persons worldwide. It is caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV) and characterized by lifelong infection and periodic reactivation. A visible outbreak consists of single or clustered vesicles on the genitalia, perineum, buttocks, upper thighs, or perianal areas that ulcerate before resolving. Symptoms of primary infection may include malaise, fever, or localized adenopathy. Subsequent outbreaks, caused by reactivation of latent virus, are usually milder. Asymptomatic shedding of transmissible virus is common. Although HSV-1 and HSV-2 are indistinguishable visually, they exhibit differences in behavior that may affect management. Patients with HSV-2 have a higher risk of acquiring human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Polymerase chain reaction assay is the preferred method of confirming HSV infection in patients with active lesions. Treatment of primary and subsequent outbreaks with nucleoside analogues is well tolerated and reduces duration, severity, and frequency of recurrences. In patients with HSV who are HIV-negative, treatment reduces transmission of HSV to uninfected partners. During pregnancy, antiviral prophylaxis with acyclovir is recommended from 36 weeks of gestation until delivery in women with a history of genital herpes. Elective cesarean delivery should be performed in laboring patients with active lesions to reduce the risk of neonatal herpes.