Pronounced “her-pees” These are small painful blisters around the genitals.
It is caused by the Herpes Simplex virus. (Herpes simplex is a cold sore usually around the mouth). This doesn’t mean that people who suffer with cold sores have an STI – Genital Herpes is the virus around the genitals, (penis, vagina and anus).
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How do I know if I’ve got it?
You could have itching or tingling feelings around your genitals, anus (bum), fingers or mouth. It may be painful when you pass urine (have a wee), feel like you’ve got the flu, pain in your back, swollen glands or fever.
How do you get it?
It’s passed on by skin-to-skin contact with an infected person, which means you could get it by close contact with the genital area and therefore not necessarily by penetrative sex. It can be passed on through sex, anal sex, oral sex, by sharing sex toys, and a person has it on their fingers and touches your genitals. It can be passed on through oral sex if the person giving it has / is about to get a cold sore of the mouth.
Can I get rid of it?
It can be treated but not entirely cured because it’s a virus, which means it can come back at any time. It will also come back if you have unprotected sex with an infected person. Visit the GUM Clinic for advice.
Rashes, sores, burning, smelling, itching and generally feeling unwell are some symptoms that you may have an STI. BUT most people don’t have any signs or symptoms that they have an STI so always get checked!