Treatment for Genital Herpes
While there is no cure for genital herpes, it can be effectively treated and managed using antiviral therapy.
Especially for people with a severe first episode of herpes treatment and for those who have frequent outbreaks, treatment is usually advisable to reduce the severity and duration of symptoms.
Antiviral therapy works on the virus itself, and stops the virus from multiplying, which reduces the length and the severity of an outbreak.
There are 3 ways of using anti-viral therapy:
1. As suppressive therapy - which refers to ongoing use of antiviral therapy to reduce the number and severity of genital herpes outbreaks. The biggest benefit is that it can reduce viral shedding
2. As pre-emptive suppressive therapy - which refers to the selective use of suppressive antiviral therapy, for example only at times they are sexually active, or in the lead up to stressful events, which can trigger outbreaks
3. As episodic therapy - which refers to the use of antiviral therapy during a genital herpes outbreak.
Please speak to your doctor or your local sexual health clinic for more information and about what treatment option may be best for you.
Prevention of Genital Herpes
It is important to avoid any contact with the infected area. You are most infectious from just before the sores surface to when the sores form a scab. Using condoms or dams reduces the risk of catching herpes, however it is important to know that they will only protect the area of the skin that they cover. If other areas are infected they won't protect against those.
A dam is a thin latex square held over the vaginal or anal area during oral sex. Using gladwrap is not a safe alternative to dams, but a condom split along one side and laid flat can be used as a dam. Dams are available from selected chemist. For more information on dams, please visit http://www.glydehealth.com/dams.html
Adjusting to living with genital herpes can be difficult and stressful at first. It can also be challenging for your partner and for your overall relationship. Overcoming the emotional effects of genital herpes is often much more challenging than managing the physical symptoms.
Sexual Health Australia offers counselling and support for individuals and/or their partners who are trying to adjust to living with genital herpes. In the counselling sessions we would work on overcoming your distress and you are encouraged to express your feelings and emotions. Additionally, we will provide further education and information about the condition and we will guide you in taking the appropriate steps to coping with your condition in day to day life. You are supported to develop goals and skills to deal with the challenge individually and/or together. The counsellor is respectful and mindful of the individual and relationship challenges, and your norms and values.
If you wish to make an appointment with one of our friendly counsellors or require further information, please don't hesitate to contact us at:
For more information on our counselling sessions/appointments please click here.
Sexual Health Australia does not offer STI testing or medical advice, for an overall check up and treatment please contact either your GP or a Sexual Health Clinic in your area.
Sex therapy and Relationship Counselling is available in Sydney, New South Wales (NSW) - Melbourne, Victoria (VIC) - Adalaide, South Australia (SA) - Perth, Western Australia (WA) - Darwin, Northern Territories (NT) - Hobart, Tasmania (TAS) - Brisbane, Queensland (QLD) - Canberra, Australian Capital territory (ACT)