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Herpes and Erectile Dysfunction

A herpes infection might increase a man’s risk for erectile dysfunction (ED).

In a recent study, Taiwanese researchers compared two groups of men. One group (about 1,700 men) was infected with the herpes simplex virus (HSV). The other group (about 6,800 men) was not. The men were followed for about four years, on average.

The researchers found that among the men who had herpes infections, 1.7% of them developed erectile dysfunction. Only 0.7% of the men without infections developed ED.

While this study showed that there was an association between herpes and ED among these participants, it did not show a cause and effect relationship.

Past research has shown that herpes and ED are related to cardiovascular problems.

There are two types of herpes simplex virus. Type 1 is more commonly associated with cold sores and fever blisters and can be transmitted by kissing. However, it can also be transmitted through oral sex and lead to genital herpes, which has no cure.

Most cases of genital herpes are caused by HSV Type 2, which is transmitted through sexual contact.

The men in the study were infected with either Type 1 or Type 2.

A genital herpes infection often has no symptoms. Many people are unaware that they have it, so it is important for partners to be tested, know their status, and use condoms every time they have sex.



Huang, C.C., et al.

“Herpes simplex virus infection and erectile dysfunction: a nationwide population-based study”

(Abstract. First published online: December 14, 2012)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“Genital Herpes – CDC Fact Sheet”

(Page last updated: February 11, 2013)

Renal & Urology News

Charnow, Jody A.

“Herpes Virus May Increase Erectile Dysfunction Risk”

(March 7, 2013)


“The Basics About Genital Herpes”

(Page last reviewed: August 6, 2012)