It is a virus caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). There are two types, HSV 1 and HSV 2.
- Direct skin-to-skin contact
- Unprotected vagina, anal or oral sex
- Unprotected rimming (mouth to anus)
- From a pregnant mother to her baby
- Most people who carry the virus have no symptoms
- During an outbreak you may have:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Painful blisters or ulcers on your external genitals and rectum
- A burning sensation when you pass urine
- Prescribed medication can reduce discomfort during an outbreak.
- The virus will stay in your system, so you may have further outbreaks.
- These outbreaks are usually less severe
- Don’t have sex while you or your partner(s) has an outbreak
- Protect your sexual health - always use a new condom correctly and put it on before you have sex
(Source: Health Service Executive (HSE), 2007)