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What is genital herpes?

Genital Herpes is caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) similar to the one that gives you cold sores around your lips. Genital herpes causes painful blisters and sores around your genital area and is contracted through direct skin contact with the virus on the mouth or genitals.

Almost everyone who has been sexually active has come into contact with HSV at some point and may carry the virus without ever experiencing any symptoms.

Once you have come into contact with the virus, it stays in your body lying dormant. Occasionally the virus can reactivate and ulcers can reappear.

You can acquire HSV even if your sexual partner has no symptoms. This is because the virus can become active on the skin without causing any signs or symptoms. This is known as ‘viral shedding’.

What are the symptoms of HSV?

You may notice itching, tingling, inflammation and discomfort in the genital area. You can also have some general flu-like symptoms. You may then develop red spots around the genital area which can become very painful. These spots can then break open to form sores or ulcers which will gradually heal over.

How is genital herpes tested for?

If  you are worried that you have genital herpes, then contact us straight away.

If  you have visible blisters, getting tested is straightforward and the nurse or doctor may be able to make an immediate diagnosis and begin treatment. A small cotton tip swab will be used to collect a sample of fluid from the ulcer or broken skin.

What if my result is positive for HSV? This confirms the presence of HSV at the time of your visit

What If my result is negative for HSV?

This can either mean HSV was not the cause of your symptoms or the test did not pick it up

What do I do if my symptoms return?

Call Sandyford on 0141 211 8130 to make an appointment.  If you prefer, contact your GP to arrange review.

My herpes result was positive, should my GP be informed? 

If you have given us permission, we can let your GP know you have tested positive for herpes.  This is really useful as you may want to ask them for advice and support in the futureWhat next?

Once you have acquired HSV, the virus will remain in your body and may cause a recurrence from time to time. Recurrent episodes can clear up without any treatment but there is also a medication available that can help speed up this healing process.

Should I tell my partner?

You should tell your current partner or any future partners that you have had HSV. Learn to recognise warning signs (itching, tingling) and do not have sex at this time. Don’t allow anyone to come into contact with sores or blisters and avoid kissing and oral sex if you or your partner have cold sores on your mouth. Male condoms, when used consistently and correctly, may reduce this risk of HSV transmission although they cannot completely prevent it.