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The virus that causes herpes isn't choosy - any kind of sexual activity (oral, anal, penile or vaginal contact) can lead to infection. However, some types of sex definitely carry a higher risk of infection than others.
Lesbian women are at a slightly lower risk than heterosexual women.
The reverse is true for men who have anal sex with other men - they have a higher risk of infection compared with heterosexual men.
It has also been shown that having the herpes virus makes gay and bisexual men more susceptible to infection with HIV, so condom usage is particularly important for this group.
No matter what your gender or sexuality, the impact and effects of herpes infection are just the same.
The good news is that safer sex practices are much more widely accepted than they used to be, and practising safe sex will reduce the likelihood of you being exposed to the herpes virus.
You can find contact details for LGBTQIA+-friendly sexual health services here.
You can also download our guides in pdf form:
If you would like to get a print copy of the information booklets, fill out the form on the consumer request for printed materials page (it contains sections on Genital Herpes - The Facts, Herpes and Relationships, Herpes and Pregnancy, Facial Herpes).
This website is brought to you by the Sexually Transmitted Infections Education Foundation (STIEF) - an initiative funded by the Ministry of Health through collective District Health Boards (20) to educate New Zealanders about STIs. District Health Boards (DHBs) are responsible for providing or funding the provision of health services in their district.
The medical information in this website is based on the STIEF Guidelines for the Management of Genital Herpes in New Zealand. The New Zealand Ministry of Health supports the use of these clinical guidelines, developed by clinical experts and professional associations to guide clinical care in New Zealand.
The Guidelines are a consensus opinion of the STIEF Professional Advisory Group (PAG). The PAG has representation from nationwide medical, nursing and allied disciplines involved in the management of STIs. The Guidelines are produced by considering available literature, both New Zealand wide and international, and by basing the medical recommendations on the evidence in the literature or reasonable supposition and opinions of medical experts.
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NZ Herpes Foundation
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