Herpes is caused by a virus called Herpes Simplex. There are two types, HSV I and HSV II, both of which can cause sores in the genital and anal area (genital herpes), the mouth and nose (cold sores) and the hand area.
It is caught when the virus enters through small cracks in the skin or the soft lining of the mouth, vagina, rectum or urethra. It may then stay dormant (ie. not showing symptoms), during which time you are not infectious, or cause an outbreak of sores.
Symptoms can appear five days after coming into contact with the virus; on the other hand, it may be months or even years until the first outbreak.
The most common symptom during an outbreak is weeping blisters in the genital area, buttocks or the tops of the thighs but sufferers can also experience flu-like symptoms, irritation in the genital area or pain when urinating.
Unfortunately, once you have caught the genital herpes virus, there is no way to get rid of it. However you can manage episodes and generally, after the most severe episode, subsequent flare-ups will be less severe. You can prevent the virus spreading and manage pain caused by the blisters with a course of anti-viral treatment.
You can be tested for Herpes and most other STDs at The STI Clinic and your first treatment is free of charge if you test positive.
If you have already tested positive for Herpes or a partner has tested positive then you can get treated by The Online Clinic by completing a free consultation form. Herpes only needs to be treated when there is a flare up of symptoms.