Understanding Genital Herpes: What Triggers Herpes? Interestingly, herpes is a virus and it's not curable, but it is treatable. One of the things that impacts herpes or whether or not someone gets an outbreak is anything that impairs their immune system. So if you get too tired, if you get too run down, if you have a cold or another infection, those are things that can actually trigger an outbreak of herpes because you immune system is impaired and it has a harder time suppressing the virus. Another trigger for herpes is getting sweaty and having your genitals stay wet and sweaty. So we often recommend for people who have herpes to wear cotton underwear at least underwear that has a cotton crotch on it so that you can be sure that there's some weaking of moisture away from your genitals or from your rectal area. The other of course would be making sure that you bathe regularly or shower regularly. Another thing that might trigger herpes is if you have a concurring infection. So people who have herpes are actually are more prone to getting infected with HIV. If you have an HIV infection and your immune system is impaired in some way you might actually have more frequent outbreaks of herpes. So those are just some things you know about what triggers herpes, what triggers outbreaks and what causes some herpes symptoms you might be concerned about.