Risk Factors for Genital Herpes
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
A risk factor is something that raises your chances of getting a health problem.
Genital herpes is more common in women than in men. But the infection spreads from men to women more easily. The risk is highest among teens and young adults who are more likely to take risks with sex.
The biggest risk is the number of sex partners in a person’s lifetime. Other things that may raise your risk are:
Genital herpes can't be seen. You can't tell if someone has it. Since most people do not know they are infected, it can spread from person to person without their knowledge.
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Genital herpes. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at:
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Updated February 2018. Accessed August 10, 2018.
Genital herpes—CDC fact sheet (detailed). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/stdfact-herpes-detailed.htm. Updated February 9, 2017. Accessed August 10, 2018.
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6/14/2012 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116271/Neonatal-herpes : Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Neonatal herpes simplex virus infection following Jewish ritual circumcisions that included direct orogenital suction—New York City, 2000-2011. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2012;61:405-409.
Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Beverly Siegal, MD, FACOG
Last Updated: 08/10/2018
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