Herpes – the key factsKey-facts-globe2.jpg

Reassurances about herpes

  • Herpes simplex causes a viral skin condition known as cold sores (on face), whitlows (on fingers) or 'herpes' on genitals or other skin areas
  • As many as one in three adults has the virus that causes genital herpes.
  • Around 80% of people infected with genital herpes don't know they have the virus because they have very mild symptoms or none at all.
  • Over 50% of people who have genital herpes get it from people who are entirely unaware that they have herpes themselves.
  • The emotional impact of being diagnosed with genital herpes is often much worse than the condition and it doesn't deserve the upset it causes.
  • Oral herpes, also known as cold sores, is commonly transmitted to the genitals through oral genital contact. Up to 50% of genital herpes is caused by the oral cold sore type of herpes simplex.
  • There is effective treatment available if herpes symptoms are problematic.
  • The symptoms of genital herpes vary enormously. It can show up as blisters or sores, but it can also just produce a mild rash. And whatever symptoms do appear may be on the thighs, back, fingers, and of course the genitals.
  • The herpes virus can be passed on when there are no symptoms present.
  • Most people who infect others with herpes don't realise they are even putting their partners at risk.
  • Using condoms reduces the risk of passing on the herpes virus, but doesn't completely eliminate it.
  • Daily medication can prevent recurrences of the herpes virus  and reduce the risk of transmission to partners.
  • Having genital herpes is not associated with causing cervical cancer.