Herpes (Simplex Virus – HSV Genital)

Genital HERPES – HSV – Herpes Simplex Virus

What causes Herpes ?

How do I get it ?

How long does it take after contact for Genital HSV to show ?

What are its symptoms ?

What are the tests for Genital HSV ?

What complications can arise from Herpes?

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What causes Herpes ?

There are several different types of Herpes virus including:

•herpes zoster (also known as shingles)

•herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV 1) – the usual cause of oral herpes

•herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV 2) – the usual cause of genital herpes


How do I get Herpes ?

Herpes is transmitted by sexual or close physical contact.

•Genital herpes can pass to your mouth if oral sex is practised.

•Oral herpes can pass to your genital area.

•Oral herpes can pass by kissing.

•Herpes can also be transmitted by children kissing each other and by adults kissing children or babies.


It is possible to auto inoculate yourself.

NOTE: Do not use saliva to wet contact lenses if you have sores around your mouth.

How long does it take after contact for Herpes to show ?

Usually, Herpes takes between 3 and 6 days for the first attack to show.

•Recurrent attacks show 1 – 2 days after something triggers it again.

•The recurrent cause may not always be apparent.

What are the symptoms of Herpes ?

Before an attack, you may notice tingling or pain in your lower back, buttocks or back of your leg.


•Small blisters and ulcers, anywhere in your genital area, which start off small, clear or yellow.

•These may join together forming larger sore areas – eg. 2 cms across.

•During your first attack, you may feel generally unwell.

•You may retain urine from fear of burning pain.

•Women may notice an offensive vaginal discharge and soreness.

•Genital and/or back passage soreness or irritation, which may lead to constipation.

The Herpes virus stays in your body for life but usually, as time goes by, recurrent attacks occur less frequently, at the same site as your first attack.

What are the tests for Herpes ?

Usually, diagnosis for Herpes is made by an experienced, qualified medical practitioner who will take blood tests and swabs (samples) of the discharge.

What complications can arise from Herpes?

If you have the first attack of genital herpes during early pregnancy, there is a risk to the baby.

Many doctors advise a caesarean (not vaginal) delivery of the baby if the first attack occurs in the last few weeks of the pregnancy – or if there is a recurrent attack on the day of delivery, or immediately before it.

You may notice one or more general possible complications – ie:

•Severe burning or stabbing pain along a nerve line (neuralgia).

•Inflammation of the root of a nerve (radiculitis).

•Constipation from fear of the pain involved in opening the back passage (anus).



•Impotence or the persistent inability to get and keep an erection sufficient for intercourse – from the fear of pain or of passing on the infection.

•Strain on relationships.

•Fear of cervical cancer. Genital herpes was once believed to be a risk factor for cervical cancer.



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