Genital Herpes

Award winning clinic for healthcare and business quality standards in 2016 & 2018

I would like to do herpes tests and I suspect I have herpes or may have had it in the past.

There are two ways to diagnose genital herpes:

  • (1) The medical history & appearance:
  • (2) Herpes tests (also syphilis):

In most cases of herpes, we reach a diagnosis without testing. It is the history that the patient tells, along with the appearance of any ulcers that tell us if you have herpes or not.

In the classic and typical cases, we usually see the following pattern:

Primary genital herpes (first ever outbreak):
Incubation: symptoms begin between 2 to 6 days after infection.
Quantity: multiple lesions appear.
Initial appearance: begin as multiple round blisters, usually each one with the same appearance.
Development: bursting to leave ulcers (sores) that are superfical and round.
Feeling: they are painful, uncomfortable or sting. Sometimes the pain is so much that it can be difficult to pee.
Duration: can persist a few weeks.

Secondary herpes (recurring outbreaks):
Advance warning: burning, electric shocks, irritation or tingling may last a couple of days and in the area that was originally infected in the primary outbreak .
Quantity: fewer lesions than in primary herpes, and may be just a single ulcer.
Appearance: the way they development and how they feel is the same as primary herpes.
Duration: normally about 10 days.

But sometimes it is not so easy to determine if the ulcers are due to herpes or not. Symptoms may be subtle or can be confused with the ulcer of syphilis. In Open House we have an highly  herpes test and a highly sensitive syphilis test which can help us in these complicated cases.
It may be useful to know if someone has type 1 or type 2 herpes causing symptoms as type 2 generally produces more outbreaks than type 1 and is usually more severe.

Call us to book an appointment or get information 

I would like to do a herpes test but I’ve never seen herpes ulcers before

If you’ve never seen lesions looking suspiciously like herpes, then you probably don’t have it.
Although you can have outbreaks of herpes without knowing it, in general the international consensus of thought is that the first time you get infected (primary herpes) you will have full blown symptoms.
In fact, the CDC (U.S. public health organisation) and European authorities don’t recommend routine screening for herpes antibodies in patients without symptoms.
It may be useful to determine if someone has herpes type 1 or type 2 producing symptoms, because  type 2 outbreaks are more frequently than the other type and usually are more severe. Knowing the strain  helps us plan treatment and help prevent future outbreaks.
There are other situations in which Open House are happy to do tests but we decide this on a case by case basis.
Please, come to our clinic to talk to our doctor if you think we should do these tests.

I would like to receive treatment for herpes

If you are experiencing a herpes outbreak, the most important thing is NOT TO WAIT. We should start treatment as soon as possible.

Prompt & swift treatment helps:

  • reduce the duration of the outbreak
  • reducing symptoms
  • reduce complications
  • reduce your infectivity

And also …
In Open House we have great experience in the treatment of this infection and complex cases. If  your situation is described here, come up to our clinic for advice.

Confused by what you’ve read? Three suggestions

How can we help you?

Call us to book an appointment or get information

Caution! It is important to read about the Window Period before doing tests UNLESS YOU HAVE WORRYING SYMPTOMS

Please trust our clinical judgement. Open House has done nearly 72.000 STI tests.

I would like information about herpes

  • What is genital herpes?
  • How common is genital herpes?
  • How is genital herpes transmitted?
  • How can I avoid catching herpes?
  • How do I know if I have genital herpes?
  • How will my doctor know if I have herpes?
  • Is there a cure for herpes?
  • What happens if you do not get treatment?
  • Can I still have sex if I have herpes?
  • What is the relationship between genital herpes and HIV?
What is genital herpes?

Genital herpes is an infection caused by two types of viruses that are “first cousins​​”. These are called herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2. Typically it is the type 1 produces mouth ulcers and type 2 that causes genital lesions, but oral sex can mean that we see them the other way round.

How common is genital herpes?

Genital herpes is common in Europe. But not everyone is aware they are infected and could be infecting others.

How is genital herpes transmitted?

In oral sex, vaginal or anal sex with a person who has the disease. There may be transmission in kisses from mouth to mouth if someone have ulcers, and there may be transmission in protected sex.

How can I avoid catching herpes?

Protect sex with condoms help reduce the risk of transmission. If your partner is experiencing an outbreak of herpes, we recommend you do not have sex until having fully recovered.

How do I know if I have genital herpes?

Some people who have herpes have no symptoms or if present they may be very mild. It is possible that  mild symptoms may be confused with another skin condition such as a spot or and infected hair follicle. This is why most people who have herpes do not know.
The ulcers of genital and oral herpes appear as one or more blisters on the genitals, rectum or mouth. The blisters burst and leave painful sores that can take several days weeks to heal. These symptoms are called “outbreaks”. The first time a person has an outbreak it may be that they experience flu-like symptoms, such as fever, malaise and  swelling of lymph nodes.
It’s common for the outbreaks of genital herpes reappear, especially during the first year after infection. The root of the outbreaks generally last less time and are less serious than the first outbreak.
The infection can remain in the body during the rest of his life, the number of outbreaks tends to decrease over the years. The doctor diagnosed by listening to the patient’s medical history and with the observation of the injury.
If you notice any of these symptoms could be prudent to have an opinion from a physician.
Outbreaks of the herpes type 1 tend to be less frequent and less severe outbreaks of the type 2.

How will my doctor know if I have herpes?

Many times your doctor can diagnose genital herpes just by looking at the symptoms. They can also take a sample from the sore and to get a test.

Is there a cure for herpes?

There is no cure for herpes. However, there are medications that can prevent or shorten the duration of outbreaks. One of these drugs for herpes can be taken every day and would reduce the chance that you will pass the infection to her sexual partner or sexual partners. Talk to us if this is an option for you.

What happens if you do not get treatment?

Normally the herpes outbreaks are painful and can be very uncomfortable. This is the main complication of an untreated outbreak. A person with active lesions is highly infectious, therefore, it is preferable to attempt to shorten the length of the outbreak.

Can I still have sex if I have herpes?

If you have herpes, you should tell your sexual partner and let him know you have this condition and the risk involved. Using condoms can help reduce this risk, but the risk is not reduced to zero.
We recommend that you do not practice sex from the time you notice something “weird” until you’re back to normal.
Make an appointment with us if you want more specific advice to your case.

What is the relationship between genital herpes and HIV?

Genital herpes can cause sores or cuts in the skin or in the inner lining of the mouth, vagina and rectum. The genital sores caused by herpes can bleed easily.
When the sores come in contact with the mouth, vagina or rectum during sex, this increases the risk of transmitting or contracting HIV if your sexual partner or sexual partners have HIV. Probably the risk of HIV is multiplied by five.
Talk to us if you want to get a HIV test, but we recommend that you do when the herpes is already well-cured, because it can interfere with the HIV test.

What would you like to do now?

I would like to do a test & I either have or have had herpes before

I would like to do a test but I have never seen herpes ulcers before

I want to learn more about herpes

I would like to receive treatment for herpes

I want to learn more about syphilis

I would like to do a complete sexual health check-up

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