What is herpes?
Herpes is a virus, and about 30% of the adult population are carriers. There are two types, HSV1 and HSV2. HSV1 is primarily associated with mouth ulcers, but easily infects the genitals and can also cause genital outbreaks. Recurrence (relapse) is less common with HSV1, however.
HSV2 is associated with more frequent genital outbreaks. Herpes virus is the most common cause of genital sores. Not everyone who is infected with herpes will have an outbreak and it seems to be random who gets this. If you are first infected with herpes, the virus will remain in the body for the rest of your life. Herpes virus collects in sores and blisters during outbreaks and this is transmitted to the partner during intercourse, oral sex, kissing or other physical contact.
Symptomes of herpes
In herpes outbreaks, sores and blisters occur on and in the area around the genitals.
- For women, this includes the outer and inner labia, the vulva and, in some cases, the outer parts of the vagina. Changes may also occur in the area around the rectal opening.
- For men, ulcers can occur on the penis, the foreskin, the outer part of the urethra and the area around the root of the penis and the anus.
The wounds are painful, and some will also feel a general feeling of illness, with fever, reduced general condition and muscle aches.
How to prevent herpes
Herpes is highly contagious during an ongoing outbreak, i.e. when there are open sores or blisters that come into contact with a partner. It is recommended to avoid sexual contact during outbreaks. Condoms will have a limited effect. Herpes is not contagious in the latent phase.
How can Dr.Dropin help you?
The doctors at Dr.Dropin have good experience in dealing with herpes. First of all, we will take samples from current changes and confirm the diagnosis. During outbreaks, antivirals can treat, preferably tablets, shorten the duration of the illness and relieve the patient's discomfort. Such treatment is offered where there is no good reason not to. We also have the opportunity to relieve pain with the right tools.
Patients with frequent outbreaks will be considered too fixed treatment. In case of severe outbreaks, you will be referred to the specialist health service.Order prescriptionBook appointment
Frequently asked questions about herpes
I am pregnant and have had a herpes outbreak. Will this have consequences for my child?
If you were to have an ongoing outbreak at birth, there is a high probability (30-50%) that you will infect the child. Neonatal herpes infection can be serious and will require treatment in a specialist health service. The risk of infecting children with latent disease is low and requires no follow-up beyond usual prenatal care.
I have had herpes outbreaks. Can I infect my partner?
You will not infect your partner as long as you do not have an outbreak
I have sores on my genitals.
How do I know this is herpes?
The doctor will take a sample for PCR from the wound fluid. This will confirm or deny the diagnosis.
I'm pretty sure I have herpes. Can I get treatment before I get an answer to PCR?
If the doctor finds it likely that you have herpes, he will start treatment before the test results exist unless there is a good reason not to.
How much does the treatment for herpes cost?
In addition to consultation with a doctor, tablet treatment will cost approx. NOK 500.
Can I infect my partner when I have herpes cold sores?
Yes. The herpes virus lies in the sores and will spread to the partner through physical contact.
Can herpes be transmitted through anal sex?
How long does the treatment take?
5-10 days, depending on the intensity of the outbreak.
What does it mean to have latent herpes?
This means that the person in question is infected with herpes, but as of now does not have an ongoing outbreak.
I have had my first herpes outbreak. How often can I expect that I will receive an outbreak?
40% of women will have recurrent outbreaks in the first year. The figure is somewhat lower for men.
Author: Doctor Kari Madeleine G Hilde.
Last updated: 20.11.2022
- NEL, (2022), Herpes genitalis hos kvinner, tilgjengelig fra: https://legehandboka.no (hentet 12.11.2022).
- NEL, (2020), Herpes genitalis hos menn, tilgjengelig fra: https://legehandboka.no
- Oslo Universitetssykehus, (2020), Herpes genitalis (HSV), tilgjengelig fra: https://oslo-universitetssykehus.no (hentet 10.11.2022).
- Oslo Universitetssykehus, (2022), Herpes i svangerskap og fødsel, tilgjengelig fra: https://ehandboken.ous-hf.no (hentet 10.11.2022)