There is no cure for genital herpes, but antiviral medications can help to prevent or shorten outbreaks. These medicines can also reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to others. Fortunately, herpetic meningitis usually resolves within a week without any complications, although symptoms may recur. This is due to the unique pattern of all herpes viruses, which travel through local nerve pathways to nerve clusters at the end, where they remain dormant (latent) for varying periods of time.
When a person experiences a prodrome and anticipates a recurrence, they start taking antiherpetic medications that reduce symptoms and shorten the duration of the outbreak. People infected with both herpes and HIV may also have a higher concentration of HIV virus in their body due to the interaction between the herpes virus and the HIV virus. Acyclovir (Zovirax) is also available in ointment form, which can be used as an adjunct to the treatment of initial genital herpes. Although HSV-2 is still the primary cause of genital herpes, HSV-1 has increased significantly as a cause, most likely due to oral-genital sex.
However, herpes can cause significant and widespread complications in people with weakened immune systems. Lesions that appear in the early stages of a herpes outbreak are much more likely to have positive cultures than cultures taken after the lesion has formed a crust. Women are more susceptible to HSV-2 infection because herpes is more easily transmitted from men to women than from women to men. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that couples use condoms as many new herpes infections occur by couples who transmit the virus asymptomatically.
Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). False-negative herpes tests can occur if samples are not taken properly, if there is a long time of transportation between the clinic and the laboratory, or if cultures were done at the end of the evolution of lesions. It is almost impossible to protect oneself against the transmission of oral herpes, since it can be transmitted through very casual contact, including kissing. A large study showed that if one partner has herpes and the other is not infected, treating the infected partner with suppressive therapy can prevent transmission of symptomatic herpes in more than 90% of cases.
A person with herpes who is transmitting the virus can be contagious even if they have no lesions or symptoms, which is why it is believed that the population with genital herpes caused by HSV I is increasing.