Genital herpes is a contagious viral infection affecting primarily the genitals of men and women. Genital herpes is caused by the Herpes Simplex-2 virus (HSV-2) which is most commonly transmitted through sexual contact (kissing, oral sex, anal sex and contact with the genitals). Although there is no cure for genital herpes, the symptoms can be treated. In most healthy people, herpes doesn’t usually cause other health problems.

Genital herpes treatment

One of the major factors determining treatment is whether a person has had a genital herpes outbreak in the past. Another factor that determines treatment of genital herpes is the frequency of herpes outbreaks.

The first genital herpes outbreak is more painful and lasts longer than recurrent genital herpes outbreaks. In women, herpes lesions can occur anywhere in the genital area including the vulva, inside the vagina, on the cervix, and urethra.

There are three drugs commonly used to treat genital herpes symptoms: Zovirax, Famvir, and Valtrex. Oral agenst for the treatment of genital herpes are:

  • Acyclovir (Zovirax®) is available as a generic drug which is usually administered orally for genital
  • Valacyclovir (Valtrex®), which delivers acyclovir more efficiently
  • Famciclovir (brand name Famvir®) utilizes penciclovir as its active ingredient to stop HSV from replicating work to suppress an outbreak.


Topical Agents

  • A penciclovir cream
  • Topical 5% lidocaine jelly
  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)

Treatment for Recurrence of Genital Herpes

Kinds of treatment regimens

  • Preventive Therapy. short-term preventive (prophylactic) therapy of acyclovir, valacyclovir, or famciclovir during periods or prior to events when outbreaks are likely.
  • Suppressive therapy. Daily long-term preventive therapy, called suppressive therapy, may be appropriate in certain patients to prevent severe long-lasting recurrences, to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus, and to improve quality of life. Suppressive therapy (a person takes medication every day to reduce the number of outbreaks) is necessary for people who have more than 6 outbreaks per year.

Genital herpes precautions

  • Keep the affected areas clean and dry.
  • Loose-fitting clothing may help.
  • Soak in a warm bath.
  • Try not to touch the sores or break open the blisters.
  • Not use feminine sprays, feminine deodorants, or douches during a herpes outbreak.

When you have symptoms of genital herpes, avoid skin-to-skin contact with the affected area, use condoms and dental dams to reduce your exposure when giving oral sex.

Genital Herpes and Pregnancy

Women who have a herpes outbreak in the third trimester or at delivery are at greater risk of transmitting the herpes simplex virus to their babies. Neonatal herpes can cause an overwhelming infection resulting in lasting damage to the central nervous system, mental retardation, or death.