Gestation Calculator

This calculator has been designed to give you an idea of the treatment options available to you*. If you decide to have an abortion with Marie Stopes UK, one of our nurses will give a more approximate gestation date during your appointment by way of a scan.
*Please note that this online calculator will only give you an estimated gestation based on the details you have provided.

Please select the first day of your last menstrual period.



We are here to support you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Call us now on 0345 300 8090 or email services@mariestopes.org.uk

0345 300 8090

You are here

Genital herpes

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a virus called herpes simplex virus (HSV). Herpes is a common STI. Herpes usually occurs on the genitals, but may also occur on the mouth and other parts of the body. HSV type 1 is more common on the mouth (cold sores) and HSV type 2 on the genitals, but both viruses can affect the genital area

How do you get genital herpes?

Herpes is transmitted by skin-to-skin contact during genital or oral sex by someone who already has the virus. Cold sores from the mouth can transfer herpes to the genital area during oral sex.

You can pass herpes on even when you have no visible blisters or sores. This is most likely during the first two-years of infection. Herpes is most infectious from the first signs of sores developing (including tingling/numbness) until the scabs have gone. You cannot pass herpes on or catch it unless you have skin-to-skin contact with the infected area.

How do I know if I have genital herpes?

Only about 1 in 5 people infected with either of the viruses are aware that they carry any infection. The majority of people have such minor symptoms that they remain unaware they have been exposed to the virus.

Herpes symptoms

  • When you are first infected, you may get an itching or tingling sensation in the genital area. You may have flu-like symptoms with fever, headaches and muscle aches and pain.
  • Within one to two days a cluster of small blisters appears. These can be very painful and they can break and weep after a few days leaving sores that may crust over.
  • In women, outbreaks of HSV-2 can be anywhere on the genital area, but commonly occur around the vagina, urethra, cervix or anal area, and may be associated with a vaginal discharge.
  • In men, outbreaks usually occur on the penis and under the foreskin, or around the anal area.
  • Many cases of genital herpes don’t show up as blisters. They can appear as cracked skin, a small area of rash, or some other skin condition of the genitals.
  • If you have any unusual skin changes in the genital areas you can be tested for genital herpes. The doctor can take a swab from the fluid inside an infected area and send it for testing. It is best if the sore or blister is less than 4 days old. You can also have a blood test to see if you have been exposed to the herpes virus.

How do I get treated for herpes?

There are treatments for herpes and the symptoms of herpes, but there is no cure. Once you have the virus, it stays in the nerves of the infected area of skin. Although the herpes sores heal, the virus stays in the body, and you can have more outbreaks. These are called ‘recurrent episodes’.

During an episode of general herpes your doctor may:

  • Prescribe an anti-viral drug. These work best if taken within the first 2 days of symptoms and can ease the pain and severity of the sores/blisters. The anti-viral drugs cannot cure you or stop you from passing herpes on to another person. They can, however, reduce the symptoms and lower the risk of infecting another person when you don’t have symptoms.
  • Use paracetamol/simple analgesia to manage the pain/discomfort.
  • Discuss treatment tips such as betadine paint, bathing sores with salt water, applying an anaesthetic jelly or cream to help urination.

What would happen if I didn't get treated for genital herpes?

In most cases, herpes will not cause any severe long-term effects. In rare cases, the blisters caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) can become infected by other bacteria. If this happens, it could cause a skin infection to spread to other parts of your body.

In some instances, the herpes virus can pose problems during pregnancy and may be passed to the baby around the time of the birth. These complications can be more serious depending on whether you already had genital herpes, or developed it for the first time while pregnant. You will need to discuss it with your doctor if you are pregnant and have herpes to discuss management of your birth.

How can I protect myself from getting genital herpes?

Anyone who has sex is at risk of getting STIs including genital herpes. At Marie Stopes United Kingdom, we recommend:

  • Always use condoms or dams and a water-based lubricant when having sex, even oral sex.
  • If in a long term relationship, ensure each partner has been tested before stopping condom use, and that neither of you has other partners.
  • Avoid sex when there are any signs of sores on the genitals. Don’t have oral sex if there is any sign of a cold-sore on the mouth.
  • Have regular STI checks at a specialised centre.
  • Discuss STIs with your partner, even when it is difficult to talk about. Discuss it when you feel relaxed and confident and not just before you have sex. Your partner will appreciate your honesty and that you don’t want to infect him/her. You have the right to know if they are infected too.