What is it? A viral infection of the genitalia caused by a similar virus to the cold sore virus.

 

How common is it? Common, particularly between the ages of 20-24 years.

 

How can I catch it? From intimate sexual contact, vaginal, anal or oral sex.

 

What are the symptoms? Around 8 out of 10 carriers are unaware they have it, but causes painful blisters over the genitals and surrounding area.

 

How is it diagnosed? By looking at the blisters and taking a swab.

 

What is the treatment? Antiviral tablets when symptomatic.

 

What is the prognosis? There is no cure. After infection, the virus remains dormant for most of the time, but may be cause outbreaks at any time and preventative measures during these outbreaks are essential.