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About genital herpes suppression

We offer oral antiviral medicines as effective prescription treatment for people who have previously been diagnosed with genital herpes, have had approximately six or more episodes in a year, and want to avoid future outbreaks.

If you need treatment for a current outbreak, please use our genital herpes treatment service.

If you need treatment for oral herpes, please use our cold sore treatment service.

What treatments are available to me?

We can offer either Aciclovir or Valtrex as antiviral medicines for genital herpes suppression.

Need genital herpes suppression?

Clinical review within 2–24 hours

How do the treatments work?

The medicines work in similar ways. They don’t cure herpes but they can prevent or reduce the number of episodes you experience if you take them daily.

The daily suppression dose is lower than that taken to treat a specific outbreak.

How do I take the treatments?

If you’re prescribed genital herpes suppression you need to take the prescribed amount of tablets daily, for 90 days.

What are the side effects?

Common side effects include diarrhoea, dizziness, headache, nausea, skin reactions, vomiting and sensitivity to sunlight. You might also experience abdominal pain, tiredness and fever as further side effects from Aciclovir.

For full information of a medicine’s side effects and how to take it, it’s important to read the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with your medicine.

Important safety information

This service is only for genital herpes.

Treatment is normally effective, but you still need to look out for signs that your infection is getting worse or not responding to treatment. If you’re unable to or have difficulty peeing, get severe headaches or neck stiffness, vomiting, or a temperature please get urgent face-to-face care as your infection may be complicated.

It’s important that you tell us which other medicines you’re taking — whether they’re prescription or medicines you’ve bought without a prescription. We need to know so that we can prescribe genital herpes suppression tablets if suitable for you. If you’re taking certain medicines or living with certain medical conditions, this service might not be appropriate for you.

What if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

This service is not suitable for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

What are my options if I don’t want these treatments?

These treatments are to help stop an outbreak from occurring. If you do get genital herpes outbreaks in the future, they will usually clear up by themselves or you could use our genital herpes treatment service.

Keeping you safe

If you do not feel safe, are experiencing abuse or control, or have experienced this in the past, please find support below or send us a message:

Page last reviewed by: Dr. Christina Hennessey 21/06/2021