Obviously, the herpes virus doesn't care what sort of sexual activity is creating the right conditions for infection, but different sexual practices create different risks.
Gay women are slightly less likely to become infected than heterosexual women, but for those who do, the impact of the herpes virus is exactly the same.
In the past, genital herpes was much more prevalent among gay men than in heterosexuals. That's no longer the case, partly because more heterosexual couples are having oral sex and becoming infected that way. However, infection through anal sex remains more common among gay men.
It has also been shown that having the herpes virus makes men more susceptible to infection with HIV.
The good news is that there is less stigma attached to all STIs in the gay community, that safer sex practices are widely accepted, and that there is a range of sexual health services specifically aimed at gay men and women. You can find contact details for some of those services on the websites listed at the back of this booklet.
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).
The Guidelines are a consensus opinion of the STIEF Professional Advisory Board (PAB). The PAB 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.