Questions About Herpes

If I contract herpes, will it ever go away?

When you contract herpes, you’re contracting a virus. Unlike chlamydia and gonorrhea, which are bacteria and can be treated, herpes will stay in your body forever. Herpes symptoms do come and go, meaning, you won’t always have a sore. The virus is closely related to your immune system, so when you’re sick, stressed, or traveling, herpes sees that as an opportunity to create a viral surge and you will soon see blisters that will pop and scab. This is the most infectious stage of the herpes virus. You should not kiss anyone, share drinks or chapstick, or let others touch open sores as they can easily be transmitted during this time. Herpes is transmissible at any time, but less so when sores aren’t present.

If I have oral sex with a person who has a cold sore, can I get herpes?

It is possible for herpes to be transmitted from mouth to genitals. To learn more about herpes go to the “Resources” tab on the home page.

What does herpes look like?

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the herpes simplex viruses type 1 (HSV-1) or type 2 (HSV-2). Most genital herpes is caused by HSV-2. Most individuals have no or only minimal signs or symptoms from HSV-1 or HSV-2 infection. When signs do occur, they typically appear as 1 or more blisters on or around the genitals or rectum. The blisters break, leaving tender ulcers (sores) that may take 2 to 4 weeks to heal the first time they occur. Any time a person notices symptoms that are unusual, it’s best to be examined right away. To find a list of testing locations near you, simply go to “Testing locations” located under the “Resources” tab on the home page.

Can you get herpes while using a condom?

Yes. Genital herpes can still be transmitted while using a condom. Genital herpes is passed from person to person through skin to skin contact. Genital herpes is found in and released from the sores that it causes, but it can also be released between outbreaks from skin that does not appear to have a sore. So if the genital herpes sore is on an area of skin that is not covered by the condom, it is possible for transmission to happen even while using a condom. For more information about herpes see the “Resources” link on the home page.