Skip to Main Content

We have a new app!

Take the Access library with you wherever you go—easy access to books, videos, images, podcasts, personalized features, and more.

Download the Access App here: iOS and Android


A 32-year-old man presents with complaints of a 1-week history of multiple painful vesicles on the shaft of his penis associated with tender groin adenopathy (Figure 135-1). The vesicles broke 2 days ago and the pain has increased. He had similar lesions 1 year ago but never went for a healthcare examination at that time. He has had 3 different female sexual partners in the past 2 years but has no knowledge of them having any sores or diseases. He was given the presumptive diagnosis of genital herpes and a course of acyclovir. His herpes polymerase chain reaction (PCR) came back positive, and his rapid plasma reagin (RPR) and HIV tests were negative.

FIGURE 135-1

Recurrent genital herpes simplex virus on the penis showing grouped ulcers (deroofed vesicles). (Reproduced with permission from Richard P. Usatine, MD.)


Herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection can involve the skin, mucosa, eyes, and central nervous system. HSV establishes a latent state followed by viral reactivation and recurrent local disease. Perinatal transmission of HSV can lead to significant fetal morbidity and mortality.


HSV affects more than one-third of the world's population, with the 2 most common cutaneous manifestations being genital (Figures 135-1, 135-2, 135-3, 135-4) and orolabial herpes (Figures 135-5, 135-6, 135-7).1

FIGURE 135-2

Herpes simplex on the penis with intact vesicles and visible crusts. (Reproduced with permission from Eric Kraus, MD.)

FIGURE 135-3

Vulvar primary herpes simplex virus at the introitus showing vesicles, pustules, and ulcers in this pregnant woman. (Reproduced with permission from Richard P. Usatine, MD.)

FIGURE 135-4

Recurrent herpes simplex virus on the buttocks of a woman with clusters of vesicles. Women are prone to getting buttocks involvement owing to sleeping with partners who have genital involvement. (Reproduced with permission from Flowers H, Brodell RT. Recurrent vesicular rash over the sacrum. J Fam Pract. 2015 Sep;64(9):577-579.)

FIGURE 135-5

Primary herpes gingivostomatitis presenting with multiple ulcers on the tongue and lower lip. (Reproduced with permission from Richard P. Usatine, MD.)

FIGURE 135-6

Close-up of recurrent herpes simplex virus-1 showing vesicles at the vermilion border. (Reproduced with permission from Richard P. Usatine, MD.)

FIGURE 135-7

Orolabial herpes simplex virus in an adult woman showing deroofed blisters (ulcer). (Reproduced with permission from ...

Pop-up div Successfully Displayed

This div only appears when the trigger link is hovered over. Otherwise it is hidden from view.