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. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114875/Genital-herpes . Updated February 19, 2018. Accessed August 10, 2018.
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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Last reviewed May 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Beverly Siegal, MD, FACOG
Last Updated: 08/10/2018