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How often do I need to take medication for genital herpes?

Treatment for genital herpes involving medication can be taken in different ways. Episodic therapy is taken at the first appearance of symptoms. This therapy involves taking daily dosages of a drug until symptoms subside, usually for a course of one to five days. These antiviral drugs are safe, have few side effects, shorten the length of first episodes and reduce the severity of recurring outbreaks, especially if taken within 24 hours of the onset of prodromal symptoms. Episodic therapy will not prevent transmission between episodes, however.

If you have frequent recurrences of genital herpes, suppressive therapy can keep the virus in check indefinitely. This treatment involves daily medication, even when you have no symptoms. It can reduce the number of recurrences significantly. Suppressive therapy also reduces the chances that an infected person will transmit the virus to a sexual partner primarily because it reduces asymptomatic shedding of the virus.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.