What is genital herpes? Genital herpes is a viral infection that starts as a flu-like illness with painful, open sores or blisters in the genital area. Since the virus stays in the body forever, about 90% of women have outbreaks (ranging from once a year up to eight times a year). The recurrences tend to be milder than the first outbreak. The sores usually last 2 – 3 weeks. Herpes is best diagnosed when your doctor can see the sores and take cells for testing. There's also a blood test but it's less reliable. Herpes does not increase your risk of cervical cancer. How do you get it? Genital herpes is contracted during sexual intercourse with an infected or through oral sex with a partner who has oral herpes (cold sores). Although it's rare, herpes can be passed along to a baby during delivery with serious consequences. It does not increase your risk of cervical cancer. partner, A word of caution If a woman touches her own sores and then touches her eyes, mouth or genitals, she can infect a new area. It may help to cover any sores, if possible, and not touch them. If you do touch a sore, wash your hands afterwards, because it can be spread through skin-to-skin contact. Anti-viral drugs can help make outbreaks shorter and less severe, but they do not cure the illness. There is currently no cure for genital herpes. Wondering what is genital herpes? Get helpful information and read how to prevent std's at BeingGirl.com.