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Diseases » Genital herpes » Complications

Complications of Genital herpes

Complications list for Genital herpes:

The list of complications that have been mentioned in various sources for Genital herpes includes:

  • Mother-infant transmission (see Birth symptoms) - a fetus can catch herpes and the baby is born with herpes. The risk is greatest if the mother's first outbreak was during pregnancy. Later outbreaks still pose some risk to the fetus.
  • Neonatal HSV infection (type of Herpes)
  • Premature birth - a fetus with herpes is often delivered early.
  • Neonatal complications (see Birth symptoms) - a newborn may have various health problems.
  • Neonatal death (see Death) - some newborns with herpes have a poor prognosis.

See also the symptoms of Genital herpes and Genital herpes: Introduction.

Complications of Genital herpes:

Genital Herpes: DSTD (Excerpt)

In addition, HSV-2 can cause potentially fatal infections in infants if the mother is shedding virus at the time of delivery. It is important that women avoid contracting herpes during pregnancy because a first episode during pregnancy causes a greater risk of transmission to the newborn. If a woman has active genital herpes at delivery, a cesarean delivery is usually performed. Fortunately, infection of an infant from women with HSV-2 infection is rare.

In the United States, HSV-2 may play a major role in the heterosexual spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Herpes can make people more susceptible to HIV infection, and it can make HIV-infected individuals more infectious. (Source: excerpt from Genital Herpes: DSTD)

Genital Herpes, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID (Excerpt)

Usually, genital herpes infections do not cause major problems in healthy adults. In some people whose immune systems do not work properly, genital herpes episodes can last a long time and be unusually severe. (The body’s immune system fights off foreign invaders such as viruses.)

If a woman has her first episode of genital herpes while she is pregnant, she can pass the virus to her unborn child and may deliver a premature baby. Half of the babies infected with herpes either die or suffer from damage to their nerves. A baby born with herpes can develop serious problems that may affect the brain, the skin, or the eyes. If babies born with herpes are treated immediately with acyclovir, their chances of being healthy are increased. Therefore, if you are pregnant and infected with genital herpes, you should stay in close touch with your doctor before, during, and after your baby is born.

If a pregnant woman has an outbreak and it is not the first one, her baby’s risk of being infected during delivery is very low.

If a woman is having an outbreak during labor and delivery and there are herpes lesions in or near the birth canal, the doctor will do a cesarean section to protect the baby. Most women with genital herpes, however, do not have signs of active infection with the virus during this time, and can have a normal delivery. (Source: excerpt from Genital Herpes, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID)

You may also want to research other symptoms in our Symptoms Center.

About complications:

Complications of Genital herpes are secondary conditions, symptoms, or other disorders that are caused by Genital herpes. In many cases the distinction between symptoms of Genital herpes and complications of Genital herpes is unclear or arbitrary.


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