Public Health Fact Sheet

What is Herpes?
Herpes is an infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), either type I or type II. Type I causes “fever blisters” or “cold sores”, whereas genital infections are caused by Type II.

How is Herpes spread?
Herpes is spread by direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. Oral herpes (cold sores) can be spread to other areas of the infected person’s body (eyes, genitals, etc.) or to another person through kissing, oral sex or careless hygiene. Genital herpes can also be spread to other parts of the infected person’s body (eyes, mouth, etc.) or to another person through sexual contact or through vaginal birth.

How is Herpes treated?
Herpes infection cannot be cured. There is a medication called acyclovir (Zovirax) that can decrease the symptoms or can be used to decrease the number of repeat outbreaks. See your doctor for specific treatment.

How is Herpes prevented?
Avoid sexual activity when you or your partner have herpes symptoms. Condoms may not prevent herpes. Avoid kissing and oral sex when fever blisters are present.

Additional information is available on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/herpesbvirus/
Symptoms of Herpes
  • Itching and burning
  • Presence of blisters
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Swollen glands
  • Genital burning while urinating and vaginal discharge
Editing Tools group. Tab 1 of 2.

February 2020