About us

What the Herpes Viruses Association does
Who writes this website
Annual Report 2015
Who we are
How the HVA got started
HVA Disclaimer and Information Standard policy

What we do

The Herpes Viruses Association helps to improve life for people with herpes simplex by:

    • helping them to understand the condition and put it into its proper perspective as a common skin complaint;
    • providing leaflets on the most common herpes questions such as ‘How to protect my partner‘, ‘Talking to a new partner‘ and ‘Pregnancy and childbirth‘.  Members can choose from 12 leaflets.
    • publishing a quarterly journal SPHERE which covers everything from research news to articles on stress management and our social events. See list of back articles here.
    • running trials to ascertain the effectiveness of complementary treatments;
    • publishing the results from our questionnaires about the experience of living with herpes simplex;
    • supporting and encouraging local groups and meetings;
    • training and supporting the volunteer helpliners.

On a wider front the Herpes Viruses Association is also concerned with:

    • providing information and advice to those who have symptoms of herpes simplex, the public and the medical profession;
    • fostering a calmer, less hysterical approach to what is usually a minor skin condition;
    • correcting misleading coverage of herpes simplex in the media;
    • promoting a more accurate public awareness of the condition;
    • working with other organisations to reduce the stigma surrounding all STIs and promote a more mature approach to sexual health.

Volunteer members:

    • answer the helpline / advice line;
    • organise local groups and social events – relaxed, informal get-togethers which have been attended by thousands of people over the years. Members who attend find them supportive, informative and enjoyable.
    • staff our Executive Management Committee. 

Who writes the Herpes Viruses Association’s website

It is written by staff at the Herpes Viruses Association (HVA), reg. charity 291657 – see Who We Are below. They monitor worldwide research into treatments and vaccines, infection rates, and studies on the usefulness of complementary therapies. They have been providing evidence-based information since 1985 for a condition that has been, and continues to be, comprehensively misrepresented by most other sources.
In August 2011, the HVA achieved accreditation with the Information Standard. This is a ‘kitemark’ that is given to organisations providing health information if they pass an arduous procedure to ensure that the information provided is evidence based and unbiased. It must be piloted on a group of readers to check that the language used is readily understood. The finished leaflet or webpage must then be validated by a suitably qualified doctor. You will see the Information Standard logo on various pages of the website.
The doctors of the “Special Interest Panel for Herpes Simplex Virus” of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV support our work and are consulted on medical/clinical matters where necessary. The HVA is impartial and totally independent of all manufacturers of both drug treatments and complementary therapies.

The “News” page is updated often, once a month or more.

This site was last reviewed on 14th November 2016.

Feedback – you can send any compliments, complaints or suggestions to us: by email or by post to HVA, 41 North Road, London N7 9DP.

We have formal procedures for complaints in place and can send you these if required.

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Read the Annual Report 2015 or the Annual Report and Accounts 2015

Who we are

Our office is staffed by two people.

Marian-Nicholson Association directorMarian Nicholson is often seen in magazines, on TV and heard in radio interviews. She caught herpes simplex in 1981. Marian edits and co-writes the HVA’s quarterly journal and all information for patients.  She trains and supports our volunteers.

Marian represents the charity on the Herpes Simplex Virus Advisory Panel which is a sub-group of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV. It is responsible for herpes simplex guidelines for doctors.

Her story can be seen on an NHS Choices video.

Marian gives talks to staff at sexual health clinics around the country. All clinics are invited to request a training session that includes the PowerPoint presentation, “Helping you to help your patients with herpes”. Send us an email.

She has been a guest on many TV and radio shows, talking about her personal experience and explaining the creation of the stigma that accompanies ‘cold sores on the genitals’.

Nigel-Scott Association information officerNigel Scott is is our Information Officer. He represents the HVA at meetings of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Skin and served on its Advisory Board for over ten years. He also attends meetings of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health and works with other organisations that aim to improving sexual health services for patients.

He also gives advice on potential legal cases involving herpes simplex transmission and liaises with patients, lawyers and other sexual health organisations when these arise. Every potential case that the HVA has been involved with, has ever gone to trial.

Alongside Marian Nicholson he is responsible for creating and editing the HVA’s information resources online and on paper, including “Herpes Simplex – The Guide” as well as the charity’s quarterly journal. His article on the origins of the herpes stigma, written for Spiked online, has been widely cited across the internet.

He counsels members and callers to the helpline.

We need your help to continue to offer this helpful website.  Help us with a donation. (We rely totally on donations/subscriptions.)

We need volunteers also – answering helpline calls, hosting meetings, doing office tasks, working on fundraising or social media programmes, and much more…  Get in touch: info@herpes.org.uk.

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We have seven patrons.

Five of them are doctors who specialise in sexual health medicine:
Professor Michael W. Adler CBE MD FRCP FFCM,
Dr David Barlow MA BM FRCP,
Dr Brian A. Evans FRCP,
Dr Colm O’Mahony MD FRCP BSc DIPVen.
Dr Raj Patel FRCP

Two of our patrons are ‘media doctors’ who help us get our message out to the public:
Dr Phil Hammond MB BChir MRCGP,
Dr Miriam Stoppard MD FRCP.

There are currently nine members of the Executive Management Committee. They are all members of our Association and none has a professional or commercial interest in herpes simplex (i.e. no doctors or pharmaceutical company representatives).

How the Herpes Viruses Association got started

In 1981, people with herpes simplex got together to share information and to help each other as a response to the many scary stories about herpes simplex in the press. The Herpes Viruses Association was registered as charity 291657 in 1985. An office was set up in the Omnibus Centre and we now employ two staff. About ten volunteers help us by hosting meetings, answering the helpline or assisting in the office. Over the years, we have dealt with over 100,000 enquiries from patients and health professionals.

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In order that we can continue to offer our website (1,500,000 visitors a year), the long-standing helpline and information leaflets we rely on your donations and subscriptions.

If this website has helped you, please subscribe or send us a donation by post (HVA, 41 North Rd, N7 9DP) or on line – just as you would to any cause that you thought was doing a good job. Thank you.

Contact us
Info@herpes.org.uk can give you short answers to any questions you have; or phone our helpline on 0845 123 2305 (this is not a premium rate call – it is charged at local rate from a landline, mobile services may charge more).

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HVA disclaimer and Information Standard policy

The Herpes Viruses Association website gives information about herpes viruses; in particular herpes simplex (genital herpes) and shingles/post herpetic neuralgia. It does not replace a consultation with a doctor.
This information is based on the evidence and medical opinion available at the time this information was produced. We are confident that the views expressed and facts provided will assist patients, medical professionals and journalists in increasing understanding and improving the treatment of these conditions. Other authorities may differ in their detailed advice on certain points.
Every effort has been made to ensure the information we provide is accurate. However, the Herpes Viruses Association cannot be held responsible for the site’s accuracy or for any actions taken on the basis of the information provided on the site or for any loss suffered due to reliance on that information. We cannot guarantee uninterrupted access to this website or the sites to which it links. We accept no responsibility for any damages arising from the loss of use of this information.

Information Standard disclaimer: 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.
The blog page (www.herpes.org.uk/blog.html) contains user-generated information and is excluded from the scope of certification.

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