Reassurances and Key Facts About Genital Herpes and Cold Sores
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 herpes virus because they have very mild symptoms or none at all.
75% of people who have genital herpes get it from people who are entirely unaware that they have HSV1 or HSV2 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 (HSV-1), is commonly transmitted to the genitals through oral to genital contact. Up to 50% of genital herpes is caused by the oral cold sore type of herpes simplex.
There is an 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 genital herpes virus and reduce the risk of transmission to partners.
Having genital herpes is not associated with causing cervical cancer.
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 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.