Skip to main content
hpa logo
Topics A-Z:
Search the site:
Home Topics Infectious Diseases Infections A-Z Genital Herpes

Genital Herpes

electron micrograph (TEM) image of numerous herpes simplex virions

Genital herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection is the most common ulcerative sexually transmitted disease in the UK. Symptoms can start with mild soreness and groups of small painful blisters appearing on the genitals and surrounding areas. Further episodes of these symptoms can occur from time to time as recurrent episodes.

CDC/ Dr. Fred Murphy.

The virus can cause severe systemic disease in neonates (newborn infants) and the immunosuppressed and it may facilitate HIV transmission. Many HSV infections are subclinical (not detectable, as there are no signs or symptoms).

There are two distinct subtypes of HSV. Type 2 is almost exclusively associated with genital infection. Type 1 causes oral herpes (or cold sores) but has increasingly been implicated in genital infections.


What's new

The most recent genital herpes data are presented in the STI annual data tables from the UK and England.