Welcome to American Herpes Foundation

Herpes Foundation provides information about educational material, regional support groups, issues and events of interest to those with genital herpes and oral herpes.

A herpes diagnosis may be difficult to accept because of the following:

  • social stigma associated with the diagnosis
  • fear of transmission to another
  • absence of a cure
  • uncertainty about infectious times
  • anger associated with contracting this disease

If you are first diagnosed with herpes, it's important for you to know about the following essential facts of herpes:

Herpes Essential Facts

  • Genital herpes is often not a serious problem.

    In fact, many people have such a mild case of genital herpes that they don't even know it's there!

  • The time from exposure to the viruses and when you first get symptoms is unpredictable.

    After a person first contracts HSV-1 or HSV-2, their first outbreak of symptoms may show up anywhere from days to many years later - or not at all.

  • You can pass on the herpes viruses if you come into contact with someone else's skin.

    This is most likely to happen during or just before an outbreak of herpes, but sometimes it can happen when everything feels normal.

  • Genital herpes is caused by 2 viruses - herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) or herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2).

    These viruses can only be passed on by direct skin-to-skin contact, usually during intercourse or oral sex.

  • HSV stays in your system for life. Sometimes the virus becomes re-activated to cause further outbreaks of herpes.

    Usually these outbreaks become less frequent and less severe with time. Some people get "warning signs" like tingling or numbness just before an outbreak.

  • Anti-viral medications are very effective.

    They can be taken to make outbreaks of herpes clear up more quickly, prevent outbreaks of herpes in people who carry the virus, and reduce the chance of passing the virus on to sexual partners