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Genital Herpes


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What is it?
Genital Herpes is a viral infection caused by two types of the virus Herpes Simplex (HSV); HSV i and HSV ii

Signs and Symptoms:
Some people may not have any visible signs or symptoms at all. In other people symptoms may appear approximately 5 days after coming into contact with the virus and others may have had the virus in the body for many months or years before symptoms appear.

Symptoms may appear as ‘flu-like’, swollen glands and pains in the groin or down the legs. Small blisters may appear around the genital and anal area which may burst within a couple of days leaving painful red sores.

Transmission route:

Genital herpes can be passed on from one person to another

  • During unprotected vaginal, anal and oral sex
  • Skin to skin contact during sex - Both by close genital contact (you don’t need to be having penetrative sex) or by close genital contact during sex if the virus is active on the skin outside the area not protected by your condom
  • By oral sex if someone has a ‘cold sore’

Treatments and Testing:
There is no routing test for asymptomatic genital herpes. A nurse or Doctor may diagnose the virus by looking at affected skin.

Treatment for genital herpes is to prevent the virus from multiplying and to relieve the pain. Antiviral tablets are taken daily throughout the day for a specific period of time. Treatment for ‘cold sores’ is not suitable for the treatment of genital herpes.

Where to go:
Genitourinary Medicine (GUM) Services offer you free and confidential service for testing and treating of genital infections including genital herpes. . You can find your local GUM or Contraception Clinic by typing in your postcode into the Service Finder.







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