Do you have herpes simplex? Come along to a social support group for people with genital herpes: meet others, share experiences, and get answers to your questions. This is for anyone, it is free – although it would be polite to buy a drink (e.g. coffee £1.40, cider £2.25).

See below for the dates/venues for London (anyone can come). Picnic in the park: St James’s Park – on August Bank holiday Monday – more details will be added.

There are regular meetings for members-only in Bury (about every 6 week) Sometimes other places too: Newcastle-upon-Tyne – there is a meeting on 29th June Bristol has an active group… There’s a ‘local contact’ in Scotland….

See further down for theFirst Day of the Rest of Your Life’ – on Saturday, 13th July. The last time we ran this even, places sold out, so get in touch NOW to book your place: [email protected] or phone 020 7607 9661.

Members-only events are sent with the quarterly magazine. For instance, we have “Annual Talks” on 22nd June: a doctor from London’s St Barts sexual health clinic will tell us “What I say to my patients” and an inspirational speaker will explain “How to get out of the misery.” Sign up to attend.

We are often told that: “I was really nervous about coming to this meet-up. But it was the best thing I’ve ever done. I really enjoyed meeting other people with herpes and talk about it openly – and to get my questions answered.” Another lady emailed to say ““I hadn’t realised quite how useful I would find it.” 

People thinking about coming along to our meet-ups often ask “What sort of people come to these?” And the answer is “Normal people! Nice people!” We are all ages, all colours, all sexes! Some have been before; others are new; members have had invitations through the post; non-members have seen these details ‘on the net’.

Conversation is about everything: how someone had caught it, how someone else’s partner had reacted. Mainly, it involves feelings of lack of self-esteem and the problems/methods of talking about herpes simplex (‘cold sores on the wots-it’) to new or potential partners. It is a sort of informal counselling if you like, with the experience of each person there, adding to Marian’s time-tested advice.

“At my first meeting I was told ‘Of course you can have a normal sex life’ by a man who’d had herpes simplex for five years. I didn’t believe him. Now I know he was telling the truth.” says Marian.

London social chats-with-answers – see venue details below


Atrium-2 Event in London – Marian in the Atrium

 6 July, 3 August, 7 September, 5 October – and one every month…

Marian is the usual host. We will be there from 3 pm – to 6 pm, but you can arrive and leave when it suits you, we are very informal.  We can discuss ‘it’ in public without anyone being aware we are a support group for genital herpes. People don’t take any notice when we talk about ‘h’ and spell out ‘s’ ‘e’ ‘x’.

The Atrium Lounge venue (directions below) is especially good if you like a quiet, comfortable atmosphere. It is usually nice and empty – we find we can chat without fear of being overheard. We drink tea/coffee/wine/beer/cocktails – all really cheap for London! Some of us go on to eat somewhere nearby after 6.00 pm.

Marian or other volunteer will put a Toblerone-shaped sign with ‘SPHERE’ on the table.

Weekday Evenings

Wednesday 12 June, Tuesday 16 July – and more dates will be added …

All of you are welcome to come and meet Marian – from 6.30 pm.  You can phone her on 020 6706 9661 if she is late! She stays at this event until 8.00 pm and if no one has arrived, she’ll leave.  No booking necessary, just turn up to talk…

BUT if you have arrived before 8.00, we can go on chatting till all hours. Anyone can come to this meeting at the President’s Atrium Bar/Lounge – see venue details below.

At one of these, the six people who came liked talking to each other so much, they agreed to come again next month – and five of them did!

President_hotelVenue and Directions

The Atrium Lounge in the President Hotel, Guilford Street, London, WC1B 5BA – Russell Square tube station.  Turn left out of tube, first left into Herbrand St and the hotel is ahead of you. Inside, turn to the right to enter the Atrium Lounge. Marian puts a yellow ‘SPHERE’ sign on the table.

Around the country

Newcastle-upon-Tyne – Join Gail and Mark on Saturday 29th, June, for a chat about herpes (or “it” as we say in public) at: Tea Sutra, 1st Floor, 2 Leazes Park Road, NE1 4PF –  from 3 – 5.30 pm, and we might go on to eat somewhere afterwards. She will put a Toblerone bar on the table, so you can find them.”
And you can ask Mark how he mentioned ‘it’ to his wife when they first got together…

As one lady said after such an event “I could not have imagined how helpful it was to meet nice people who really understood!”

Other places where there are events from time to time: Birmingham, Cambridge and possibly Cumbria. These social (and sometimes ‘support’) events occur in people’s homes and in pubs, cafes, etc. around the country. Members interested in getting a meeting going in their part of the country get full support from the HVA office.  We even hope to join the first meeting ourselves, or send a helpline volunteer – someone trained to answer all factual questions.


Regularly, a group meet in Bury – about every 6 weeks.  For HVA members only. Also, there are people interested in having meetings in Leeds, Eastbourne, Coventry, Cardiff.

Gay Guys in London

A member had a meeting for gay guys. He says there will be more!

First Day of the Rest of Your Life – Saturday, next one, 13th July 2019.

Are you stuck at the stage where you “dump them if it looks like it is getting serious (because I daren’t talk about my genital herpes)”?  Do you say to yourself “Will anyone want to be with me now I have herpes?”  Or “How do I tell someone I have herpes?”  We have a solution:

On September 22nd, members attended and gave us six perfect scores (100%) and one 80% for the day!  This is a full day’s event which we know give you the facts, the ideas and most importantly, the confidence about ‘how to tell someone I have herpes’.  We ask members what they would say to a person thinking about coming along. They say:

  • Definitely worth attending! Even if you think you know all about herpes – helps you to feel more positive.
  • Do it sooner rather than later! (Two people said this)
  • Well worth the money [£39]. Very good.  Must do.
  • Please attend the day as soon as you feel ready. I wish I had made the trip to London sooner. . . I think I would have had a more positive attitude towards sex, etc. over the last few years had I attended the study day sooner.

This page was last updated on 17-6-2019