Genital Herpes is caused by a form of the Herpes Simplex virus that can also be responsible for the cold sores that can appear around a person’s mouth.
Once infected with the virus, sores or blisters can appear at the point of infection – this could be in the genital area, around the anus, around the mouth or even around the eyes. These blisters are highly infectious but usually disappear after 2 – 3 weeks.
Even though the blisters disappear, the virus will still be present in the nerve endings. Whether someone has subsequent outbreaks of blisters depends on how efficiently their immune system is working. Things that affect our immune system can promote a new outbreak of herpes – tiredness, stress, alcohol and drug use, periods of ill health can all contribute to herpes blisters reappearing for some people.
Treatments available do not attack the virus itself but aim to relieve the symptoms of the blisters or stop the blisters from developing. They take the form of creams and ant-viral tablets. Unlike treatments for cold sores, there are currently no over-the-counter remedies available for genital herpes.