Genital herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections are among the most commonly seen sexually transmitted infections in the world. Genital herpes is a serious health problem because the infection continues through life with remissions and relapses, it causes recurring painful ulcers, and there is no known cure for it. The real prevalence of the genital herpes infection is unknown due to asymptomatic cases. The majority of infected individuals are not aware of the infection due to short duration of symptoms and signs or its asymptomatic nature. The clinical presentation of genital herpes shows certain differences in terms of the primary attack following the first encounter with the virus and recurrent attacks. There is a strong relationship between HSV-2 positivity and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). A serious complication of genital herpes in the mother during pregnancy, neonatal herpes, has a mortality risk of 60% if not treated. Antiviral therapy is safe and effective, for both episodic treatment and chronic suppression of HSV. Epidemiology, clinical presentation, laboratory, and treatment options of genital herpes are summarized in this chapter.
Part of the book: Fundamentals of Sexually Transmitted Infections