This is what other sites don’t tell you:

(For the related condition, herpes zoster, please go to the Shingles Support Society page.)

  1. Genital herpes: caused by a herpes simplex virus (type 1 or type 2) – nearly everyone (70%) will catch at least one type, sooner or later.
  2. Most don’t know they have it: 1 in 3 will have symptoms and get diagnosed. The others have mild symptoms and so they are unlikely to be diagnosed – or they have no symptoms at all.
  3. The word ‘incurable’ is used to make it seem important when it isn’t.
  4. Some people get recurrences and we can advise on how these can be reduced and stopped.
  5. Many other infections stay with us – chickenpox, glandular fever are two. Other infections also hide in the body. Nobody makes a fuss about them.

You can get a 2-page summary: “All you need to know” – as a printable PDF. For answers to all your questions about herpes, see the FAQs page. And read our comments on current news stories.

You can listen to two members and our director, Marian Nicholson, chatting about getting rid of the stigma on Woman’s Hour – 6 minutes in.

Other web sites exaggerate the worst cases and tell you genital herpes is serious. Don’t be fooled. You don’t have to worry about it. Serious complications are incredibly rare. As we state above, most of us have at least one type of herpes simplex and don’t even know.

Covid-19 (corona virus)

The Herpes Viruses Association will be operating a reduced service during the emergency.

  1. Read specific Covid-19 posts on  For answers to most of your questions see “Frequently Asked Questions” For information about shingles and post herpetic neuralgia (PHN) go to
  2. Our helpline will continue to operate on 0845 123 2305 – please call that number on weekdays to speak to a volunteer – or you will hear a message stating when calls will be answered.
  3. We will continue to answer messages sent to
  4. We will answer Facebook Messages sent to our Facebook page
  5. Subscriptions and information pack orders (new subscription, renewals, Guides and shingles pack) will continue to be sent out.
  6. Orders on our online shop for items such as creams and capsules are being processed every weekday at present.

Our director gives her personal account:

Click on the video – right – “Will this affect my life? Marian answers”

More personal stories in our magazine (this is an old one from 2017, but it gives you an idea of what sort of thing it is) and on our private Facebook page (members only)

Click to get lots of information

For example, 4-page instructions for ‘Talking to a new partner’ and 2 pages on ‘How to protect my partner (transmission)’, and lots more… We can help you get it in proportion: see subscription details. See a sample issue of SPHERE.

We also have a French leaflet (brochure en français sur l’herpès) and a Spanish leaflet (folleto en español sobre el herpes).

Professor George Kinghorn, an emeritus professor of sexual health, says:

“… to be infected with a herpes simplex virus is a state of normality. We tend to make this into a big deal instead of saying that to be infected with herpes virus is something that happens to all adults, some with symptoms and some of us without.”

Read more

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More about us

Find out more about us, the Herpes Viruses Association, and what we can do for you.

Important: If you have not been diagnosed, do not jump to conclusions!

Find out if you have genital herpes: go to a Sexual Health (Genitourinary Medicine) Clinic. You will find one in most towns and cities – or search databases here or here. We cannot diagnose what might be affecting you by email or on the telephone helpline.

The more you know, the less you worry!

Health care information on herpes you can trust. The Information Standard. Certified Member.

This page was written under the Information Standard rules.
Issued on 22/12/2017
Full references for the statements made can be sent on request. Send us an email at:  [email protected]

The Information Standard states: The HVA shall hold responsibility for the accuracy of the information they publish.  Neither the Scheme Operator nor the Scheme Owner shall have any responsibility whatsoever for costs, losses or direct or indirect damages or costs arising from inaccuracy of information or omissions in information published on the website on behalf of the HVA. Disclaimer: note that the blog and other personal experience stories are excluded from the scope of IS certification.