This is what other ‘herpes’ sites don’t tell you:

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

  1. Genital herpes is 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 will have mild symptoms and so are unlikely to be diagnosed – or even 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. It’s not the only infection that stays with us – chickenpox, glandular fever and many other infections also hide in the body. Nobody makes a fuss about them.

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.

Subscribe to the HVA to get lots of information leaflets on ‘Talking to a new partner’ and ‘How to protect my partner’, etc. and get it in proportion.

Professor George Kinghorn, a sexual health consultant in Sheffield, 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.

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. There is one at most general hospitals or search here. We cannot diagnose what might be affecting you by email or on the telephone helpline.

The more you know, the less you worry!

back to top


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

This page was written under the Information Standard rules.  It was issued on 19/12/2014 and will be reviewed no later than 19/12/2017.  Full references for the statements made can be sent on request.

The Information Standard states: The HVA shall hold responsibility for the accuracy of the information they publish and 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.

back to top