Openly talking about herpes is anything but easy. As common as it is (in fact, one out of every six people between the ages of 14 to 49 years have genital herpes), discussing the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for herpes brings the inevitable wave of confusion and fear. But it doesn't have to be that way. In fact, understanding the basics of herpes can help you become more confident in how to talk to your partners or hookups as well as give you hope and excitement about leading a normal life should you ever become diagnosed with the STD.
If you have noticed any discomfort you're unfamiliar with or suspect you might have herpes, see your doctor or gynecologist to discuss or diagnose your condition. We talked to Dr. Kelly Martin Schuh, author of Love and Thrive With Herpes: A Holistic Guide For Women, to learn more about how herpes affects women and what you should know about this common virus.