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Genital Herpes Health Center

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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 complications from 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

Genital Herpes and Your Sex Life

You can have a fulfilling sex life if you have genital herpes, even though it may be more complicated than it was before your diagnosis. Now, you must be careful about what you do and when you do it. Avoid these sexual activities when you have sores on your genitals, or when you feel a herpes outbreak coming on: Vaginal sex Anal sex Receiving oral sex (fellatio, cunnilingus, and analingus) Between outbreaks, it's OK to have sex, as long as your partner understands and accepts the risk...

Read the Genital Herpes and Your Sex Life 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.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 20, 2012
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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