Being Gay and having Herpes

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.

You can also download our guides which are divided into four sections (in pdf form):

Genital Herpes - The Facts
Herpes and Relationships

Herpes and Pregnancy

Facial Herpes

Alternatively you can download our guide as one pdf.
Also available: Herpes... Myths vs Fact (in pdf form).

Click here if you would like to get a print copy of the information booklet "The Facts: A guide for people with Genital Herpes" (it contains sections on Genital Herpes - The Facts, Herpes and Relationships, Herpes and Pregnancy, Facial Herpes).