Genital herpes

Genital herpes is a chronic (long-term) condition with most individuals having recurrences. However, over time, the frequency of attacks decreases and the condition becomes less severe with each subsequent occurrence.

Some people carry the herpes virus without knowing and may not have any signs or symptoms. The virus that causes cold sores around the mouth can also cause genital herpes after oral sex.


The first attack of genital herpes can cause several different symptoms including:

  • painful red blisters that burst to leave open sores around your genitals, rectum (back passage), thighs and buttocks

  • blisters inside the vagina

  • vaginal discharge in women

  • pain when you pee

  • a high temperature (fever) of 38°C (100.4°F) or over

  • a general feeling of being unwell, with aches and pains

These symptoms may last for up to 20 days. However, the sores will eventually scab and heal without leaving any scarring.

Getting tested

If you think you might have genital Herpes you should contact your local sexual health clinic or GP practice.

Treatment can be effective if started early and can reduce the severity of an attack.

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