What is it?

Herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. As many as one in eight people have herpes. Symptoms include recurring genital pain and sores.

While there is no cure for herpes, treatment helps to manage symptoms. The infection spreads through unprotected sex. It can also be passed from mother to baby during pregnancy and labour.

If you have herpes, it’s important to get treated and learn more about your condition.


What will my GP do?

Your GP may give you information about:

  • Your treatment, including antiviral therapy – treatment helps reduce symptoms but doesn’t ‘cure’ herpes
  • Testing for other sexually transmitted infections
  • Telling partners
  • Safe-sex strategies
  • Prevention and birth control
  • Resources and support
  • Treatment for related issues like pelvic inflammatory disease
  • A referral for a counsellor or specialist if necessary


Your GP may recommend a referral if your symptoms are extensive, or if you are:

  • Unsure about your diagnosis
  • Pregnant
  • Diabetic
  • HIV positive


What will my GP do in the future?

Your GP may see you again in one week to monitor your condition and check your response to treatment.

Your GP may also complete any tests that weren’t done in your first check-up. You’ll be given more support and advice for managing symptoms and flare-ups.

If you still have symptoms after your first episode, your GP will talk to you about therapies. There are different options based on how often your symptoms appear and how severe they are.


Your GP may also offer you a referral to a sexual health clinic if:

  • You have herpes symptoms but your tests are negative
  • Your condition is complicated
  • You are immune suppressed
  • You would like counselling or more support
  • You have an inflammatory condition


What can I do?

It’s important you follow your treatment instructions carefully so you can minimise flare-ups. Learn about safe sex and ask your GP if you need to tell previous partners about your disease.

Talk to your GP about strategies at home to ease symptoms, such as pain relief, saline soaks, ways to relieve painful urination.

It’s common to feel anxious or worried when you learn you have herpes. Ask your GP for a referral if you’d like more support to help you cope.