The family of herpes viruses can cause a range of different conditions including chicken pox, shingles, cold sores and genital herpes simplex.
The herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV2) is most commonly responsible for genital herpes infection, HSV1 can also cause genital infection but is more commonly associated with oral infections.
There has been an increase in the prevalence of genital herpes especially in the men who have sex with men group. The infection can be passed on when having intercourse with a partner who has active symptoms and also in those that have had previous infection but are currently asymptomatic. Furthermore, a person with herpes may not have ever had any symptoms and can pass this on without knowing. Multiple partners and intercourse without condoms are also risk factors.
Symptoms include a painful eruption of sores or blisters, pain on passing urine and vaginal / penile discharge. The virus stays latent in the body and can be reactivated to cause subsequent infection with similar lesions which can take up to 10 days to resolve.
Treatment is with antivirals – if initiated early enough can cause a reduction in the severity of symptoms and reduce duration. In individuals having frequent attacks a long term daily course of low dose antivirals may be recommended to reduce the chance of an episode.
Testing can be via a urine test or a swab taken from any suspicious lesions in symptomatic patients. In those without symptoms a blood test can be taken to confirm infection – this is recommended for those patients who feel they may have been exposed to the herpes simplex virus. We offer all the above tests with 2 – 4 days depending on the test.
Any patient testing positive should also be screened for other sexually transmitted infections as they can often co-exist.
Book a completely confidential consultation with a highly experienced and sensitive GP to discuss your concerns or arrange testing.
Please contact us for further information.