Common symptoms of herpes include painful blisters or open sores such as ulcers in the genital or anal region. You might experience stinging, tingling or burning in the genital region, sores that look like a rash or cracked skin or difficulty passing urine. The initial episode may also induce flu-like symptoms such as fever, swollen lymph nodes, headache and body aches.
Transmission of herpes occurs through skin-to-skin contact. For many, symptoms will be so mild that the infection is completely unrecognisable. It's important to note that transmission can also occur when no symptoms are felt or visible. However, if you do recognise the symptoms, it’s important to avoid any sexual contact with others during this time as this is when you are at your most infectious. Genital herpes is not a screenable STI, meaning you cannot accurately test for herpes in the absence of symptoms. It is best to test when there are symptoms to verify whether or not the symptoms you have are because of genital herpes.
If you're concerned about any symptoms, review them with your GP.
The frequency of herpes outbreaks is different from person to person. However, recurrent flares are most common in the 12-18 months following initial acquisition of the infection.
Herpes is treated with antiviral medication for both episodic and suppressive purposes. There is currently no known cure or vaccination for genital herpes. The goal of treatment is to reduce the severity of symptoms and frequency of outbreaks. Antiviral medication can also reduce the risk of passing the virus to a sexual partner, but it is still possible to pass it to a partner. In order to receive treatment for herpes through Rosemary, you must already have seen a doctor, received a diagnosis and be prescribed your regular treatment by your general practitioner. An online doctor in Australia on our platform can help you access your treatment and is available to chat online about your progress whenever you need.