What Would Happen If You Don't Get Treatment for Genital Herpes?


There is often fear, shame and a stigma surrounding genital herpes. Treating genital herpes will not cure your condition; however, before you decide to skip treatment, there are several factors to consider.

Increased Outbreaks

  • Treatments can suppress herpes outbreaks. Antiviral therapy (with medications like acyclovir or valacyclovir) halts the growth of the herpes simplex virus in your body and can prevent outbreaks for months or years.

Increased HIV Risk

  • According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, when left untreated, HSV can result in an increased risk of acquiring or spreading HIV (human immunodeficiency virus).

Longer Outbreaks

  • Antiviral therapy can shorten the duration of your herpes outbreaks and alleviate some of the symptoms. This is called episodic treatment since you are only treating each episode.

Increased Risk of Transmission

  • Receiving antiviral treatments can reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to your partner. Pregnant women who do not receive treatment may be at increased risk of premature labor, miscarriage or transmission to the unborn baby.


  • Simple measures like loose undergarments, taking pain relievers and using salt baths to soothe your genital area can help alleviate some of the discomfort of a herpes outbreak

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