Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection which can cause blisters on the genital skin or in the mouth. It is caused by a virus called herpes simplex virus (HSV). However 80% of people have very mild or no symptoms.
There 2 types of this virus HSV1 and HSV2. Each can cause blistering infection on the genital or in the mouth and can be passed on during intercourse or in oral or anal sex. Infection of another person is much more likely to occur if the blisters or the painful ulcers that they leave for a few days before disappearing are present.
Diagnosis is made by a doctor or nurse seeing the blisters and sometimes taking a swab from them.
Herpes often comes back recurrently, sometimes if you are overtired or stressed, and sometimes for no apparent reason. Medication can be used to shorten the outbreak but it will not cure it as the virus lives in a persons body for many years. In people where outbreaks occur frequently the medication can be taken on a daily basis in a lower dose to try and prevent outbreaks.
Many people get very few outbreaks, going years without having one and many people carry the virus and are not aware they have ever had an outbreak.
If you are worried about the possibility of having Herpes or other STIs please see your doctor or practice nurse at our clinic where you can be seen for free is you are under 22 yrs old, or you can attend your local sexual health clinic
Useful Links :
Herpes foundation of New Zealand : http://www.herpes.org.nz/
Auckland Sexual Health Service : http://www.ashs.org.nz/clinics.html