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What is it? 

Herpes is a viral infection that attacks the nervous system. It's from the same family of infection as chicken pox, shingles and glandular fever.


Genital herpes is part of the herpes simplex virus…there are two types. Type I more commonly causes cold sores around the mouth and nose and type II more commonly causes sores in the genital and anal area, which can also transfer to the mouth.

Herpes lurks in the central nervous system - waiting to break out when you are feeling unwell or stressed.

How is it spread?

Genital herpes (or herpes simplex) can pass between the genital area and mouth through:

· Oral, anal or vaginal sex with an infected partner when they are having an outbreak of herpes

· Touching a partner's infected mouth/penis/vagina/anus then touching your mouth/genitals. It can also be spread by sharing sex toys


What are the symptoms?

Many people will not have any signs or symptoms

Both men and women can be infected and may have one or more of the following symptoms:

· Stinging, itching or tingling in the genital or anal area

· Pains down the thighs, legs or in the groin, flu-like symptoms

· Small blisters which have a clear liquid inside them which if they burst, leave painful red ulcers - these blisters may be hidden in the vagina, cervix or rectum

. Pain when passing urine


How can I get rid of it?

You can’t! Once you have the virus there is no cure.

However a doctor or sexual health specialist can offer medication to control the outbreaks of blisters.

To reduce the chances of getting it – use a condom!

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