Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2

Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2

Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 (HSV-2) infection is widespread throughout the world and is almost exclusively sexually transmitted, resulting in genital herpes.  Infection with HSV-2 is lifelong and incurable. The virus causes painful sores in genital and anal areas. Genital herpes is common in the United States. More than one out of every six people aged 14 to 49 years have genital herpes.


HSV-2 is mainly transmitted during sexual activity, though it is possible that contact with genital surfaces, skin, sores or fluids of someone infected with the virus can spread the disease. HSV-2 can be transmitted from skin in the genital or anal area that looks normal and is often transmitted in the absence of symptoms.


Genital herpes infections often have no symptoms or mild symptoms that go unrecognized. As a result, most infected people are unaware that they have the infection. Symptoms may include:

  • Painful ulcers on and around genital and anal areas
  • Fever
  • Body aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes

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