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Did you get a good service?

Sexual heath services – did you get good service?

Did you get into the sexual health clinic easily? Did they make you wait days?  The new commissioning system for sexual health services (GUM clinics) is via local authorities – it comes out of their public health budget. Sexual health is not paid for by the NHS any more.

If you would like to tell the doctors/clinics about your experience, they want to hear from you: let them know through this survey You can be anonymous if you like.

Genital herpes can only be diagnosed by taking a swab when you have symptoms. So it is essential that people who want to check if this is what they have, get into the clinic when the symptoms are present. Complaints are needed if the services are not up to scratch! Click here for the survey.

You might see adverts from private clinics/on-line clinics – “get diagnosed by post”.  Ensure that only a swab is used for your diagnosis. There is no point in a urine test or a blood test for diagnosing genital herpes.

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Helpline chats

The helpline gets a lot of calls every (week) day and here are some of the most common questions:

“Will I transmit my genital herpes to my child?”

The answer to that is of course, “no you cannot – it is transmitted directly skin-to-skin with the affected area so clearly a mum with a cold sore does need to take care, but a mum with a genital sore is not going to infect her child with her genital herpes.

“I had sex last night and now I have an outbreak, will I have infected my partner with genital herpes?”

The answer is there are two possibilities. One: if your body was planning on having an outbreak today, then possibly you were infectious last night and the partner might have caught it. Two: (and this is much more likely) the late night or the friction has triggered the outbreak, and you would not have had it if you had not had sex. So you were not infectious last night. By the way, if sex triggers outbreaks, use a sexual lubricant with silicone.

“Who did I get herpes from?”

It is important to remember that a person can have their first outbreak of genital herpes many years after catching it.  So, often you cannot know for sure where it came from.

“Is this (…long description…) herpes?”

We cannot diagnose on the phone. Each of the symptoms of a primary outbreak of herpes can be linked to many other illnesses. So, the ‘flu-like symptoms’ might actually be flu. The ‘itchiness that comes before the blisters appear’ might be caused by anything from allergy to washing powder, to eczema.  The ache in the leg might be a strained muscle… Get diagnosed at a clinic.

Marian Nicholson, 15 March 2018


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Meeting people with herpes

Like a letter in a bottle:

A member asked us about putting a Dates and Mates advert into the magazine: “I would like to meet some new friends male or female who I can trust and talk to… shall I put an ad in?” She added: “I had an invitation to a gathering but felt it was too big a step to take, I wish I had the confidence to do it …”
Continue reading Meeting people with herpes

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Helpline – what they ask

What is it?

It amazes our new helpline volunteers how often a caller phones to describe their symptoms and get the helpliner to say what they have. We cannot do that. There are 24 ‘differential diagnoses’ that a sexual health doctor will be considering when s/he is shown what might be genital herpes.

We don’t list these on our website as we don’t want to encourage self-diagnosis.  After all, they don’t give a medical student a link to a website and say ‘Now you can diagnose sexually shared conditions”!
Continue reading Helpline – what they ask

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Protect sexual health clinics

We need to protect sexual health services

Sign the petition  to maintain the sexual health services. Since the government REMOVED sexual health from the NHS and asked local councils to provide it, the standard of services (access times, staffing, etc) has gone down.

You need to show that members of the public do want the provision of anonymous, easily accessible sexual health clinics. Sign now!

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What You Get in the Current Magazine

Winter-Spring 2018 edition of Sphere

Get it sent to you by post or by email

  • Heavy duty research and a new drug development
  • The grass is greener – or is it? Existing treatments work for most us – if you know how to use them
  • Ignore the word ‘cancer’ in any herpes story.
  • General health and psychology issues:
  • Why 10 eggs isn’t enough
  • Think about improving your self-esteem – Come to next ‘day’ – see what happened with Aimee
  • Interesting tales from the HVA office
  • Join the committee (be a trustee) – yes, you!
  • The mayor of Islington with our star helpliner…
  • Important: sign the petition to save STI services from £ cuts.
  • Buy Target lotion at half price
  • And we have a long section of My Story from Robert

Continue reading What You Get in the Current Magazine