Genital Herpes

Genital Herpes

Evie Plumb ·

Symptoms of Genital Herpes

Genital Herpes is caused by the virus, Herpes Simplex (HSV). There are two different types of HSV, HSV1 & HSV2, both of these can infect the genital and anal area, as well as the mouth and nose.


About half a billion people worldwide are living with genital herpes, and several billion have an oral herpes infection, new estimates show ( – And most of us don’t even know we have it!

Only 1/3 notice symptoms and get diagnose (BASHH 2014 Guidelines: “Prior infection with HSV-1 modifies … the first infection by HSV-2, usually making symptoms less severe”) Some people get symptoms years after the initial infection.

Did you know? Most of us who have HSV1 catch it as a child during our preschool years from touching/kissing and sharing items with people with cold sores.

If you do show symptoms however, these are some of the common signs:

Flu like symptoms such as fever, headache and aches.

Stinging and tingling in the genital or anal area.

Small fluid filled blisters in the above area swell as buttocks or tops of the thighs – these can burst.

Pain when peeing.


There is no cure for genital herpes so you may get further outbreaks.

The virus lays dormant in the nerve endings, much like chickenpox, so some people can have further reoccurrences (if this is the case for you, you can speak to your sexual health clinic about suppressive therapy) and some may not get any further reoccurrences after the initial.

The first is usually the worst, but they usually get milder and less frequent over time. The likelihood of transmitting this via asymptomatic shedding is 2%, this decreases after time and after 2 years people with no reoccurrences shed hardly any virus. Transmission is highly likely when there are symptoms (sores present or referred nerve pain (tingling/ burning)) but less so when there are no symptoms. (try not to use ‘highly contagious’) These are usually less severe however as your bodies had a chance to produce those helpful antibodies!

Certain things can trigger outbreaks like being unwell, stress, menstrual cycles, friction from sex, tight underwear and drinking/smoking too much.

Causes Of Genital Herpes

Herpes is highly infectious and enters the body through small cracks in the skin or lining of the mouth, vagina, rectum or urethra & under the foreskin.

Its easiest to pass to others when you have a blister outbreak but can also be spread during shedding (no symptoms).

You CANNOT catch Herpes from kissing, hugging, sharing towels, swimming pools, toilet seats etc.

It CAN however, be spread through:

From mother to baby (can be treated during pregnancy).

Unprotected sex (vaginal, oral & anal).

Receiving oral.

Sharing your toys without washing between uses.

Genital to genital contact.

If a person has herpes on the hand and touches down below.

Treatments Of Genital Herpes

Herpes can only be diagnosed when you have symptoms (blisters). They will take a swab over these and test them.

You will usually get your result within two weeks.

Herpes will clear by itself however you can be given antiviral tablets which help stop the virus multiplying but don’t remove it from your body completely.

Oral cold sore cream will not help genital herpes

It is strongly advised to not have sex before or during an outbreak and for a week after your symptoms have completely gone.

Read more about herpes here!

⚡ I am not a health professional. I am qualified in RSE but I am not a doctor. Content for this page has been drawn from the NHS website and Please head over to these great sites for more details.

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