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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is genital herpes?
Genital herpes is a sexually-transmitted infection (STI) caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) that is transmitted by having unprotected sex. Some people with the virus will not experience any symptoms, while others will develop small blisters or ulcers on or …
What causes genital herpes?
Genital herpes is caused by an infection with the herpes simplex virus (HSV). There are two different forms of the virus that can cause herpes - HSV1 and HSV2. HSV1 is more usually associated with cold sores near the mouth (oral herpes), while HSV2 is more …
How is genital herpes spread?
Genital herpes is a sexually-transmitted infection, which means that you can contract it by having unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex. It is usually spread by direct contact with blisters, but people without any symptoms can also spread the virus. If the …
How could genital herpes affect my baby?
The herpes virus can be passed on to a baby during childbirth, if the mother has an outbreak at the time of giving birth. Although this is very rare, HSV infection in babies can be very serious. Herpes in babies can affect their eyes, mouth, brain …
What are the symptoms of genital herpes?
In some people, the herpes virus causes small blisters or ulcers on or around the genitals. The blisters can also occur around the anus, buttocks and upper thighs. If you have genital herpes you may also experience: flu-like symptoms, such as …
How is genital herpes treated?
As there is no cure for genital herpes, the treatments available aim to relieve symptoms and reduce how often outbreaks occur. A doctor may prescribe some oral antiviral medications to reduce the severity of the symptoms of an outbreak. If you experience …
How can I avoid genital herpes?
The risk of getting genital herpes can be reduced by practicing safe sex, which means using a barrier, such as a condom, when having sex. Consistent use of condoms will reduce the risk of contracting herpes by 50%. It is best to avoid any sexual contact if …
How is genital herpes diagnosed?
To work out if you have genital herpes, a doctor will ask you questions about your medical history and look for any visible symptoms, such as blisters or ulcers. They may also take a swab of a blister or ulcer and send it to a laboratory for testing.
About this article
Author: Dr Joanne Van der Velden PhD, BSc (Hons)
First answered: 19 Sep 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.1 out of 5
Votes: 529 (Click smiley face below left to rate)
Category: Genital herpes