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Genital Herpes

What is it?

Genital herpes is a virus that can be carried and passed on by both men and women. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), of which there are two types. Both can cause genital herpes.

Genital herpes can be passed on through sexual, or skin-to-skin contact when the virus is active. When HSV is active the carrier will usually have an outbreak of blisters or sores in the genital area, however HSV can be passed on without the carrier having any signs that the virus is active.

What are the symptoms?

If you get symptoms for genital herpes they are roughly the same for both men and women, and along with visible blisters may include:

  • Itching or burning in the genital area
  • Pain when having a wee
  • Discharge
  • Flu like symptoms

Tests and treatment

If you have symptoms, a nurse or doctor will be able to say if its genital herpes by looking. A swab of fluid may be taken from the infected area, and blood and urine samples may be requested. If no visible blisters or sores are present when examined then a blood test may be taken to test for HSV.

If HSV is found then anti-viral tablets may be prescribed and advice on how to relieve the symptoms will be given.

What can happen if its not treated?

Herpes will generally clear up on its own however by delaying treatment you risk passing the virus on.

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