Who should I see if I think I have genital herpes?
If you suspect that you have genital herpes or any other sexually transmitted infection then see your GP or contact your local genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic. You can go to the local GUM clinic without a referral from your GP. You can look for a GUM clinic near you in the UK by searching the Family Planning Association's 'Find a clinic' service. Your GP would also be able to advise you where your nearest clinic is.
Do I need any tests?
Yes. A blister can be swabbed by a doctor or nurse to obtain a small sample to send to the lab. This can confirm the infection is due to the herpes simplex virus. It may also find out which type of herpes virus has caused the infection. Tests to look for other sexually transmitted infections may also be done at the same time. These swab tests are best carried out in a GUM clinic. Your GP may sometimes do the tests but will normally advise you to attend a GUM clinic as soon as possible. You can make an appointment at most GUM clinics yourself without needing a referral from your GP. Sometimes a blood test is done as well. This determines whether you have had a herpes infection in the past, or whether this is the first time. It can also tell which type of herpes simplex virus it is.
Did you find this information useful?
- Herpes simplex - genital; NICE CKS, September 2012 (UK access only)
- 2014 UK National Guideline for the Management of Anogenital Herpes; British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (2014)
- Management of Genital Herpes in Pregnancy; British Association of Sexual Health and HIV and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (Oct 2014)
- 2017 European guidelines for the management of genital herpes; International Union against Sexually Transmitted Infections (IUSTI) (2017)
- 2015 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines - Genital Herpes; Centers for Disease Control and prevention CDC, (2015)
- Hollier LM, Wendel GD; Third trimester antiviral prophylaxis for preventing maternal genital herpes simplex virus (HSV) recurrences and neonatal infection. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Jan 23 (1):CD004946.
- Kang SH, Chua-Gocheco A, Bozzo P, et al; Safety of antiviral medication for the treatment of herpes during pregnancy. Can Fam Physician. 2011 Apr 57(4):427-8.
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