Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"Is there a cure to genital herpes?"

ZocdocAnswersIs there a cure to genital herpes?


I have herpes and I am scared I will have it for the rest of my life. I am 18. I don't know what to do.


Genital herpes is caused by a virus (herpes simplex virus or HSV) and is spread through sexual contact. You are correct that there is no cure for herpes so once you have contracted it you will have it for the rest of your life. Herpes is characterized by periods of outbreaks followed by periods of remission (where you have no symptoms but are still carrying the virus). Outbreaks are characterized by clusters of inflamed blisters and papules that can be painful. The virus is most easily spread when you are having an outbreak, however, it can still be spread to others even when you have no symptoms. Some people with herpes only ever have one outbreak whereas others have frequent outbreaks. Although there is no cure, there are medications that you can take to shorten the course of an outbreak or prevent frequent outbreaks. It is important to discuss your concerns with your primary care doctor or gynecologist and be sure that you are tested for other sexually transmitted diseases. It is extremely important to always use condoms during intercourse to prevent spreading herpes to others and to prevent yourself from contacting other sexually transmitted diseases.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.