Herpes Treatment

Method of Treatment
Oral antibiotics

Length of Treatment
For Outbreak: 5 days
For Suppressive Therapy: approx. 6-12 months

Further actions (for outbreak)
No sex until blisters disappear
+ salt water bath

For Outbreak: £30
For Suppressive Therapy (three month course): £50

(STI Consultation fee of £50 applies if tested elsewhere)

All services are highly confidential

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1. Process a Herpes Swab test

For those who have current symptoms (where appropriate). Those on suppressive treatment may not require a test.

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2. Discuss test result

No extra charge if you tested with us.

3. Give you the medications

You can call us if you have any questions.

FAQs – Herpes Treatment

Can Genital Herpes be cured?

Whilst genital herpes cannot be cured (in the literal sense), it can be well managed and with effective medications we can ensure that you do not pass it onto your partner.

What is the management for Genital Herpes?

Oral antiviral medications are commonly used as suppressive therapy for genital herpes (i.e. to ensure that it does not flare up again).

How effective is the treatment for Genital Herpes?

Your medications will act directly on the infected cells and will stop the virus from growing any further. This is an effective way of managing an acute outbreak or preventing any recurrent outbreaks.

How long does the treatment take to work?

Patients will see a great improvement of their Herpes outbreak within 24-48 hours of taking the medications – for an outbreak.

If there have been more than 6 outbreaks in 1 year or at client request, the same medication can be taken continuously to alleviate the worry of transmission and suppress the virus from further outbreaks. This medication only acts on the HSV virus and does not work on any other viruses.

Are there any side effects?

Some of the possible side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Diarrhoea
  • Stomach pain
  • Skin rashes
  • Itching
  • Tiredness
  • Sensitivity to sunlight/artificial light
  • Fever

Can I take this with other medications?

It is usually safe to take Herpes medications alongside your other medications. However, please inform your clinician if you are taking any medications.

Does my partner need treatment?

Unless your partner has a Herpetic lesion or they require suppressive therapy, they will not require any medications.

Can I begin treatment before receiving my test results?

Yes. Treatment can begin before receiving results, especially if you are experiencing uncomfortable symptoms. It is really important to have tests before any treatment is commenced so we know if the treatment has worked and whether you need to tell your partner(s) or not.

Can I get Genital Herpes again?

Genital herpes is a viral infection, so will always be present in your body.

If you are generally well and have a good immune system, the virus can be managed by your body and you may never see any other lesions.

In times of stress, when the body has something else to concentrate on, this is the time when the virus gets the opportunity to show itself, thus producing lesions.

How long do I have to wait before having sex again?

We highly recommend you wait until your lesions are cleared up before resuming with (oral, vaginal and/or anal) sex with your partner. This will make sure that you don’t pass the infection onto them.

Do I have to get re-tested after my treatment?

You will not need to get retested of Herpes again, unless you are pregnant/planning a pregnancy.

What happens if I don’t get treated?

The symptoms may go away by themselves. However, with modern medicine, it is very easy to take early measures to ensure that the symptoms don’t progress further than they need to. You can read more about complications of herpes here.

Is there anything I can do at home?

If you are in pain and/or distress, the following may help relieve your symptoms. However, we still recommend seeking advice from a sexual health clinician.

Saltwater bath
Lightly salted baths can help alleviate the symptoms of herpes.

  • Add ordinary table salt to warm water in the following proportion:
    • 1x sachet of salt in approx. 200ml of water
    • 1x TEASPOON of salt in a PINT of water
    • 1x TABLESPOON to a BOWL of water
    • 1x HANDFUL to a shallow bath
  • Soak the affected area for 5 to 20 minutes.
  • Rinse the affected area afterwards.
  • Pat the area dry with a clean tissue or towel.
  • Repeat this 1-2 times daily whilst symptoms last.

Over the counter painkillers can help to relieve some of the symptoms

Ice pack
Never apply ice directly to the skin, always wrap it in a cloth or towel first.

Petroleum jelly

Wear loose clothing

Have oral, anal or vaginal sex until they go away

Do not touch your blisters unless you’re applying cream

If you are experiencing symptoms of Genital Herpes, we would recommend getting tested and begin treatment without delay.

Understanding Genital Herpes




Page reviewed by Dr. Manoj Malu (Clinical Director)

Last reviewed date: 3 March 2020
Next review due: 3 March 2023

Whilst this content is written and reviewed by sexual health specialists, it is for general guidance only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your clinician.

If you are experiencing symptoms

It is important to refer to a healthcare provider as soon as possible. Our experience combined with timely detection can help avoid complications in the future.

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