What problems does genital herpes cause?

People who are infected with genital herpes may not know it. If they do have symptoms, these almost always include pain, itching and ulcers of the skin on or around the genitals. They often also have painful bumps in the groin, fever, headaches, muscle aches or burning with urination. Genital herpes is very dangerous if an infected mother who has an outbreak at the time when the child is born passes it to her newborn baby.
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Genital herpes infection usually does not cause serious health problems in healthy adults. People whose immune systems don't work properly, such as people with HIV, can have severe outbreaks that are long-lasting. Sometimes, people with normal immune systems can get herpes infection in the eye. But this is less common with HSV-2 infection.

Herpes may play a role in the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Herpes sores can make it easier for HIV to get into your body. Also, herpes can make people who are HIV-positive more infectious.

Living with herpes can be hard to cope with even if you have no symptoms. At first, you might feel embarrassed or ashamed. You might worry whether having herpes will affect your relationship with your sexual partner or keep you from having meaningful relationships in the future. Keep in mind that millions of people have herpes. And not unlike many other health issues, treatment can help you manage the infection. After a little time, most people with herpes are able to adjust to the diagnosis and move on. Let your doctor know if you're having a hard time adjusting. Talking to someone about your feelings may help.

This answer is based on source information from The National Women's Health Information Center.

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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.