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Genital Herpes in Women Overview (cont.)

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How is genital herpes diagnosed?

In most cases where the characteristic signs and symptoms are present, they are sufficient to establish a diagnosis of genital herpes infection, although some evidence exists that because of atypical presentations, missed clinical diagnoses can be high. Laboratory tests, such as viral culture and nucleic acid amplification tests to detect the genetic material of the virus, are also available. Immunologic tests to identify antibodies to genital herpes are other possible tests to establish whether infection has occurred.

Can genital herpes be cured?

There is no cure for genital herpes, and once a person is infected with genital herpes, the infection persists throughout the individual's life, with the potential for recurrent outbreaks. However, there are medications that can reduce the severity and frequency of outbreaks and treatments to manage the symptoms.

What is the treatment for genital herpes?

Antiviral medications are available that can help manage the severity and duration of outbreaks, if taken immediately prior to (when there are tingling or unusual skin sensations but no blisters) or within 24 hours of an outbreak. The medications typically used are acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir), or valacyclovir (Valtrex). These are all typically taken orally. In severe cases of viral infection, antiviral medications may be given intravenously, but this is not typically done for genital herpes. Topical medications that are applied directly to the sores are also available, but these are less effective than oral medications and are not generally used.

All of these medications may also be given as suppressive therapy to decrease the number of outbreaks in people who have frequent outbreaks (more than six outbreaks per year).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/15/2013

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Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/genital_herpes_in_women_overview/article.htm

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