Genital herpes FAQs

How do you get genital herpes?

An infected person cannot transmit an infection through contact with toilets (10), towels or other objects. The virus cannot survive outside of the body for very long. Genital herpes is most often transmitted through direct sexual contact (vaginal, anal or oral).

Is there a cure for genital herpes?

No, there is no known cure for genital herpes at this time. Symptoms are best managed and treated by a medical health professional.

Can genital herpes be prevented?

As with any other sexually transmitted infection, genital herpes is best prevented by abstaining from sexual contact. Limiting sexual contact to one person (who is infection-free) will significantly reduce your risk of contracting such infections. Correctly using a condom during sexual contact and avoiding intercourse if you or a partner has an active outbreak will also significantly reduce risk.

What can you do if you are pregnant and have genital herpes?

Consult your doctor as soon as you suspect such an infection and get tested for it. Antiviral medications may be prescribed late in the pregnancy to try and minimise risk of an outbreak around the time of delivery. A caesarean section may be recommended (11) if you do experience an active outbreak when you go into labour. This will reduce the risk of passing the virus to the baby during childbirth.


10. HealthDirect. May 2017. Genital Herpes Causes and Diagnosis: [Accessed 29.08.2018]

11. Canberra Hospital and Health Services May 2014. Genital Herpes in Pregnancy: [Accessed 29.08.2018]

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