How your doctor decides to treat your herpes will depend upon whether you are showing symptoms for the first time or if it is a recurrent infection of herpes simplex virus (HSV). There is no herpes cure, although your body's own defence system can deal with the symptoms over time.
Contact your GP or sexual health clinic for a test or, if, you prefer to do it discreetly in private, order your home herpes test from our online shop and provide a sample by following the enclosed instructions.
If you have active sores on your genitals and/or mouth, it is essential that you abstain from all sexual activity until completing genital herpes treatment. Even when symptoms have cleared you should use a condom. If you have cold sores around the mouth, avoid kissing.
If you test positive, you must try and contact previous sexual partners as they may be at risk and spread the virus. Many people with herpes have no symptoms and don't realise they have it.
If you are diagnosed with herpes for the first time you will usually be given antiviral drugs, such as acyclovir, to take five times a day. If you have fewer than six subsequent recurrences, you may be given a five-day course of anti-viral drugs each time. The doctor may prescribe drugs for you to have ready should you sense an outbreak occurring. If you have more than six recurrent outbreaks in a year, you may be asked to take anti-viral drugs daily as part of a long-term treatment plan.
Recurring outbreaks of herpes may be the sign of a weak immune system and this can be an indicator of HIV. Therefore, if you have herpes, it is essential that you also get tested for HIV. Herpes can also cause problems during pregnancy so speak to your doctor if you are expecting a baby.
Herpes never leaves the body - it just becomes inactive. Thus, if you have it once, you have it for life. It is essential you tell all new sexual partners and urge them to get tested.
There is no oral herpes or genital herpes cure. Treatment suppresses the symptoms but they can flare up at any time. If you do see treatments that explain how to cure herpes, beware, as these are fake.