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Genital Herpes - What Increases Your Risk

Things that increase your risk of getting genital herpes include:

  • Having more than one sex partner.
  • Having a high-risk partner or partners (partner has more than one sex partner or has herpes-infected sex partners).
  • Having unprotected sexual contact (not using condoms).
  • Starting sexual activity at a young age. The younger people are when they start having sex, the greater their risk is of getting genital herpes.
  • Having a weakened immune system.
  • Being a woman. Women are more likely than men to become infected when exposed to genital herpes. And their symptoms tend to be more severe and longer-lasting. Women also are at a greater risk of having complicationsfrom a genital herpes infection.

Having herpes, especially if you have open sores, also increases your risk for becoming infected with HIV if you are exposed to HIV.

Recommended Related to Genital Herpes

Tests to Diagnose Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is a common STD; however, many people who have this sexually transmitted disease don't know they have it. Genital herpes frequently has no symptoms, so you can be infected and contagious without knowing it. When symptoms do occur, they can easily be mistaken for something else. Without adequate testing you may be told you are infected with genital herpes and not be, or the other way around. If you have sores on your genitals, your health care provider can perform tests to determine...

Read the Tests to Diagnose Genital Herpes article > >

Any child with genital herpes needs to be evaluated by a doctor to see if it is the result of sexual abuse. For more information, see the topic Child Abuse and Neglect.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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