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More than 30 of these viruses are sexually transmitted, and they can infect the genital area of men and women including the skin of the penis, vulva (area outside the vagina), or anus, and the linings of the vagina, cervix, or rectum.
Most people who become infected with HPV will not have any symptoms and will clear the infection on their own.
Typically, another outbreak can appear weeks or months after the first, but it almost always is less severe and shorter than the first outbreak.
Although the infection can stay in the body indefinitely, the number of outbreaks tends to decrease over a period of years. Results of a nationally representative study show that genital herpes infection is common in the United States.
Genital HSV-2 infection is more common in women (approximately one out of four women) than in men (almost one out of five).
This may be due to male-to-female transmissions being more likely than female-to-male transmission. HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be found in and released from the sores that the viruses cause, but they also are released between outbreaks from skin that does not appear to be broken or to have a sore.
Some of these viruses are called "high-risk" types, and may cause abnormal Pap tests.
They may also lead to cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, anus, or penis.
Genital HSV-1 outbreaks recur less regularly than genital HSV-2 outbreaks. There is no treatment that can cure herpes, but antiviral medications can shorten and prevent outbreaks during the period of time the person takes the medication.
At least 50 percent of sexually active men and women acquire genital HPV infection at some point in their lives.
By age 50, at least 80 percent of women will have acquired genital HPV infection.
In addition, daily suppressive therapy for symptomatic herpes can reduce transmission to partners.
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When signs do occur, they typically appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals or rectum.