Is herpes a serious disease?

Herpes isn't life-threatening and usually doesn't cause any serious health problems. While herpes outbreaks can be annoying and painful, the first outbreak is often the worst. For many people, outbreaks occur less frequently over time, and over time, they may go away completely. Genital herpes is probably the most dreaded and least known sexually transmitted infection (STI).

There is no cure, so people infected with herpes have it forever. While the virus is rarely life-threatening for most people who suffer from it, it is extremely dangerous for pregnant women. A virus outbreak during pregnancy increases your risk of premature birth and the fetus can get a fatal infection in the womb. Herpes can be painful, but it usually doesn't cause serious health problems like other STDs can.

There is no cure for herpes, but prescription medications can ease symptoms and reduce the chance of transmitting the virus to others. WHO works to increase awareness of HSV infection and its symptoms, improve access to antiviral drugs, and promote HIV prevention initiatives among people with genital herpes, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). If you have herpes, you should also get tested for HIV (AIDS) and other STIs (such as syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia). Genital ulcer disease caused by herpes facilitates sexual transmission and acquisition of HIV infection.

In people who are immunocompromised, including those with advanced HIV infection, herpes may have more severe symptoms and more frequent recurrences. Herpes is more easily transmitted when the sores are open and moist, because fluid from herpes blisters easily spreads the virus. Third-trimester antiviral prophylaxis to prevent recurrences of maternal genital herpes simplex virus (HSV) and neonatal infection. If you notice symptoms, you'll experience them differently depending on whether you're having your first herpes outbreak or a repeat one.

Because the transmission of the virus is intermittent, it is possible for a person to have a genital herpes infection even if it hasn't been detected by the NAAT or culture. People with symptoms of oral herpes should avoid oral contact with others (including oral sex) and sharing objects that have been in contact with saliva. The average incubation period for an initial herpes infection is 4 days (interval, 2 to 1 after exposure). Pregnant women who have been diagnosed with HSV-2 (commonly known as genital herpes) should start taking a daily antiviral at 36 weeks of pregnancy as prescribed, to avoid outbreaks during childbirth.

Rarely, herpes (HSV-1 and HSV) can be transmitted from mother to child during childbirth and cause neonatal herpes. This form of herpes can cause internal and external sores and blisters in the genital area, which may appear several days, weeks, or months after exposure.