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Genital herpes can lead to erectile dysfunction

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Lisa Oldson, MD Mar. 14, 2013

Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) - more commonly referred to as genital herpes - can lead to erectile dysfunction in men, according to a Taiwanese study supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The study, which was reported in Andrology, compared 1,717 males with HSV to 6,864 men who did not have the sexually transmitted disease (STD). Scientists found that HSV-infected individuals had a much higher incidence than participants who do not have HSV after an average of 3.9 years of follow-up with the study.

After delving into the research further, researchers concluded that the cases of genital herpes associated with erectile dysfunction were nearly three times more prevalent compared with non-infected subjects. The average age of the participants was around 43, and one of the main takeaways from the research was that both afflictions were associated with cardiovascular issues.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, genital herpes is the second-most common STD in the United States, infecting more than 24 million people. Although herpes is lifelong and incurable, it is usually treatable for most patients. If left untreated, the virus can lead to painful and chronic infections.

If you are worried or stressed about transmitting the STD to a potential partner, you may find it harder to perform sexually. Since stress also exacerbates genital herpes outbreaks, psychosomatic erectile dysfunction could simply be a side effect of this disease. Failure to get an erection is usually tied to psychological stress, according to Psychology Today, which could easily be a side effect of genital herpes. Although there are several ways to achieve performance, practicing safer sex is effective in stopping the spread of HSV.

The only way to know if you are HSV-free is to make sure you and your potential partners have been tested for STDs. Knowing that you and your partners are STD-free can allow all parties to enjoy sex more easily.

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