See us in the clinic as soon as possible if you have:
- small blisters that burst to leave red, open sores around your genitals, anus, thighs or bottom
- tingling, burning or itching around your genitals
- pain when you pee
- in women, vaginal discharge that's not usual for you
These can be symptoms of genital herpes.
Come to the clinic even if you have not had sex for a long time, as blisters can take months or years to appear.
What happens when you come to visit us
The doctor or nurse at the clinic will:
- ask about your symptoms and your sexual partners
- use a small cotton bud (swab) to take some fluid from 1 of your blisters or sores for testing
The test cannot:
- be done if you do not have visible blisters or sores
- tell you how long you have had herpes or who you got it from
Please note that swab taking can be painful. Please do not do Google review saying it was painful. We already know that.
Symptoms might not appear for weeks or even years after you're infected with the herpes virus.
If you have genital herpes, your previous sexual partners should get tested.
The doctor or nurse at the clinic can discuss this with you and help you tell your partners without letting them know it's you who has the virus.
There's no cure. Symptoms clear up by themselves, but the blisters can come back (an outbreak or recurrence).
Treatment from our clinic can help.
When you are tested positive for the first time
You may be prescribed:
- antiviral medicine to stop the symptoms getting worse – you need to start taking this within 5 days of the symptoms appearing
- cream for the pain
If you have had symptoms for more than 5 days before you come to our clinic, you can still get tested to find out the cause. But blood test may not be accurate.
Treatment if the blisters come back
Come to our clinic if you have been diagnosed with genital herpes and need treatment for an outbreak.
Antiviral medicine may help shorten an outbreak by 1 or 2 days if you start taking it as soon as symptoms appear.
But outbreaks usually settle by themselves, so you may not need treatment.
Recurrent outbreaks are usually milder than the first episode of genital herpes.
Over time, outbreaks tend to happen less often and be less severe. Some people never have outbreaks.
Some people who have more than 6 outbreaks in a year may benefit from taking antiviral medicine for 6 to 12 months.
If you still have outbreaks of genital herpes during this time, you may be referred to a specialist.
- keep the area clean using plain or salt water to prevent blisters becoming infected
- apply an ice pack wrapped in a flannel to soothe pain
- apply petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline) or painkilling cream (such as 5% lidocaine) to reduce pain when you pee
- wash your hands before and after applying cream or jelly
- pee while pouring water over your genitals to ease the pain
- do not wear tight clothing that may irritate blisters or sores
- do not put ice directly on the skin
- do not touch your blisters or sores unless you're applying cream
- do not have vaginal, anal or oral sex until the sores have gone away
We realized that local lab results are not accurate in detecting HSV virus. So we use PCR technology from a Phoenix based lab to get conclusive evidence. The turn around time for this test is three business days. The PCR test for men's health also check many other organisms. So our patients get conclusive answers if they are suspecting any infection.
We also test the patient who are presenting with herpes symptoms for HIV. Herpes infection can cause sores or breaks in the skin or lining of the mouth, vagina, and rectum. This provides a way for HIV to enter the body. Even without visible sores, having genital herpes increases the number of CD4 cells (the cells that HIV targets for entry into the body) found in the lining of the genitals. Because Herpes with HIV is much more serious and need additional treatment. So whenever we suspect HSV, we also proactively test for HIV to rule out any additional complications.
Prevention of further breakouts when you are already infected.
Once you have the virus, it stays in your body.
It will not spread in your body to cause blisters elsewhere. It stays in a nearby nerve and causes blisters in the same area.
If you can, avoid things that trigger your symptoms.
Triggers can include:
- ultraviolet light – for example, from sunbeds
- friction in your genital area – for example, from sex (lubricant may help) or tight clothing
Some triggers are unavoidable, including:
- being unwell
- having a period
- surgery on your genital area
- a weakened immune system – for example, from having chemotherapy for cancer