Understanding Genital Herpes -- Treatment

What Are The Treatments for Genital Herpes?

There's no cure for genital herpes, but antiviral treatment can help. Your doctor might prescribe:

All of these antivirals can be used to shorten or prevent outbreaks. Daily suppressive therapy can reduce the number of outbreaks and potential spread to partners when ulcers are not apparent (called asymptomatic shedding). The newer drugs, Famvir and Valtrex, can be taken less frequently and may be better absorbed and better tolerated in some.

During an active herpes episode, you should take steps to speed healing and to keep from infecting others:

  • Keep the affected area clean and dry. This helps keep other infections away.
  • Don't touch herpes sores. If you do, wash hands thoroughly.

Avoid sexual contact from the first sign of symptoms until the sores are completely gone. This is when the scab has fallen off and new skin covers the place where there were blisters. But remember that you can still infect someone even if you don't have any symptoms or sores.

How Can I Prevent Genital Herpes?

If you have genital herpes, don't have sex when you have any sign of a herpes episode. Between episodes, the use of condoms and latex dams can help prevent the spread of the virus. But the virus can still be transmitted by exposed skin to skin contact. Your doctor may recommend that you take daily antiviral medication, which may reduce outbreaks and risk of infection in your sex partners.

If you don't have genital herpes, use condoms and latex dams to protect yourself during sex. These products are not completely protective, but they do reduce your risk of infection.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD on April 19, 2021



CDC: "Genital Herpes -- CDC Fact Sheet."

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: "Genital Herpes."

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