Herpes is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the U.S. More than 45 million people in the U.S. -- one in five adults and adolescents -- carry the virus.
It's highly contagious and incurable, but with education and medical treatment, you can reduce or prevent outbreaks and transmission to your sexual partner.
Genital herpes can cause serious or fatal infections in newborns if the mother is shedding the virus at the time of delivery. The virus also makes it easier for a person to transmit...
Antiviral medicines, such as acyclovir
(Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir), and valacyclovir (Valtrex), are recommended for
treating primary genital herpes outbreaks. This medicine can be taken when an outbreak occurs. It can also be taken every day to help prevent outbreaks.
Nonprescription medicines, such as ibuprofen (Advil)
and acetaminophen (Tylenol), may reduce the pain and fever from genital
Taking antiviral medicines
Antiviral medicines work
best when they are taken as soon as symptoms are noticed. For that reason,
people with herpes should keep a supply of the medicine on hand.
If you have 6 or more
outbreaks a year or have severe outbreaks, you may benefit from taking antiviral
medicine every day. It may reduce the number
of outbreaks by about 1 or 2 episodes a year.
If you take antiviral medicine
every day, you may want to talk to your doctor about not
taking the medicine for a short period each year. This can show whether your outbreaks are starting to occur less frequently. Then you can decide
whether to keep taking the medicine.