You can get genital herpes antibiotics from ZAVA without making an appointment. Simply select which medication you’d like to take and fill out a short questionnaire. One of our doctors will review this to make sure the treatment is suitable for you.
We can then deliver the treatment straight to your door in discreet packaging. You can also choose to collect it from a Post Office.
About Genital Herpes Treatment
Genital herpes is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It’s caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV).
There are 2 types of HSV that can cause herpes, HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 is the same virus that gives you cold sores on your mouth, also called oral herpes. You can pass on genital herpes if you have oral sex with cold sores.
Genital herpes blisters look like small, red bumps around the genital area. The blisters can turn into sores and ulcers and may have some fluid come out of them. The blisters can also be painful.
Genital herpes is spread when your skin comes into contact with exposed herpes sores. This can happen during unprotected sex. You can get herpes from having vaginal sex, anal sex or oral sex.
Herpes can also be spread if you’re in contact with the genital fluids of an infected person. The infected person might not have symptoms but will still have the virus.
You cannot get or pass on herpes by sharing towels, toilet seats or kitchen utensils.
You can prevent getting herpes by using condoms when you have sex. Keep in mind that your sexual partner may have herpes sores on parts of their body that the condom does not cover. This means you can still get the virus even if you use condoms. If you know your partner has herpes, you should avoid having sex until they get treated.
You can treat an outbreak of genital herpes using antiviral medication. Antiviral medication will treat the symptoms of an outbreak.
Antiviral medication can help shorten the length of time an outbreak lasts. You may also get recurrent episodes of an outbreak, in which case it’s important to take medication to keep it under control.
The active ingredient in these medications stops the herpes virus from replicating inside your cells. This keeps the level of virus in your body low which lessens your symptoms.
At ZAVA, you can request one of 3 different antiviral medications to treat herpes:
The most commonly used antiviral medication is aciclovir. You may choose to take another antiviral treatment if you cannot take aciclovir or have found it does not work for you.
The treatment course is usually for 5 days but can be up to 10 days. The dose depends on which tablet you’re taking, so make sure you follow the instructions that come with your treatment.
It can take up to 10 days for the symptoms of a herpes outbreak to clear with treatment. A treatment course can be between 5 to 10 days depending on how severe your symptoms are.
Herpes blisters can take a few weeks to heal even after treatment. You should wait for the blisters to heal completely before you have sex again.
You can treat a repeat herpes outbreak using the same antiviral medications for the first outbreak. Repeat outbreak treatment can be prescribed as a shorter course, such as 2 to 3 days. This all depends on your symptoms. Your doctor will explain the treatment schedule best for you.
If you get frequent outbreaks of herpes (more than 6 outbreaks a year), you may be prescribed suppressive therapy. This is using antiviral medicines that you take everyday.
You cannot buy treatment for genital herpes over the counter at a pharmacy. Antiviral medicines can only be prescribed by a doctor.
Some online doctor services, such as ZAVA, provide private prescriptions and antiviral treatment for genital herpes. You do not need a physical appointment to use this service and can get your medication delivered straight to your door.
You should not have sex during a herpes outbreak. During an outbreak, there’s a high risk of passing the virus on to your sexual partner. You should avoid having sex until you’ve been treated and your sores have healed.
You can have sex in between outbreaks. While the risk of transmission is low, it’s still best to use a condom. Condoms can prevent the virus being transmitted through genital fluid.
You should let your partner know if you’ve got herpes. You can explain to them that it’s safe to have sex in between outbreaks provided you use a condom. Being open and honest with your partner is key to having safe sex.
Most people with herpes will not get any symptoms. The virus can stay dormant in your body and be triggered months after you’ve contracted the infection.
The first episode of genital herpes is usually the longest with the most severe symptoms.
The most obvious symptom of herpes are the blisters that form in the genital area. Other symptoms of herpes can include:
- flu-like symptoms like a fever and muscle aches
- vaginal discharge
- pain inside the vagina or the head of the penis
- difficulty or pain when peeing
You may notice a recurrent herpes outbreak starting with the following signs:
- painful blisters around the genitals
- a tingling or burning feeling
- pain in or around your genitals
If you are pregnant and think you might have herpes, speak to your midwife or doctor immediately. They can arrange for herpes testing and treatment. It’s important for you to get treated as soon as possible as the infection can be passed to your baby and cause complications during birth.
You can diagnose genital herpes using a swab test at home. This is the same test that sexual health clinics use. A swab test will take a sample of fluid from a herpes sore. You do not need a blood test to diagnose herpes.
You can request a genital herpes test kit from ZAVA and complete it in the comfort of your own home. We can deliver the test kit straight to your door in discreet packaging, or you can collect it from a Post Office.
You will not be able to do a herpes swab test if you do not have any sores.
You may experience some side effects when taking genital herpes treatment. These side effects can appear in the first few doses but should resolve once your body gets used to the medication.
The most common side effects of antiviral treatment include:
- feeling sick or being sick
- abdominal pain
- sensitivity to light
If you cannot tolerate these side effects, speak to your pharmacist or doctor before stopping treatment. It’s important to finish the course of antiviral treatment to make sure the infection is completely treated.
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for genital herpes. Once the virus is in your body, it can hide from your immune system until it is triggered to give you symptoms.
Treatment can help reduce the severity of symptoms and make it less likely for you to get outbreaks. Remember that even if you have herpes, you will not always get symptoms.
Dr Babak Ashrafi Clinical Lead for Service Expansion
Babak studied medicine at King’s College London and graduated in 2003, having also gained a bachelor’s degree in Physiology during his time there. He completed his general practice (GP) training in East London, where he worked for a number of years as a partner at a large inner-city GP practice. He completed the Royal College of GPs membership exam in 2007.Meet our doctors
Last reviewed: 23 May 2022
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Genital herpes, National Health Service [accessed April 2022]
Aciclovir, NICE/British National Formulary [accessed April 2022]
Valaciclovir, NICE/British National Formulary [accessed April 2022]
Famciclovir, NICE/British National Formulary [accessed April 2022]