Genital Herpes Treatment

Treatment for genital herpes broadly fall into two categories. Treatment for those who have an outbreak of genital herpes for the first time and treatment for those experiencing recurring outbreaks of genital herpes.

Treating The First Infection Of Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is characterized by a delayed onset from when an individual is first exposed to the herpes simplex virus (HSV). An outbreak of genital herpes may occur from as little as 4-7 days, to months and even years after exposure to HSV.

If a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic is local, individuals with an initial infection of genital herpes usually visit a GUM specialist. The GUM specialist will screen for genital herpes (and other sexually transmitted diseases) and will provide treatment, follow up care and counseling.

Where access to a GUM clinic is limited, individuals with genital herpes may be able to visit their doctor.

There are a number of medical treatment options available for genital herpes.


Aciclovir is one of the most commonly prescribed anti-viral medications which prevents the herpes simplex virus from multiplying. Aciclovir is available in tablet, cream, and ointments. Aciclovir can also be administered via intravenous injection where high concentrations are needed.

Aciclovir may be prescribed by your doctor. When taken in tablet form, aciclovir is often taken 5 times a day for at least 5 days. In cases where new blisters and ulcers form on the genital area whilst taking aciclovir, this medication will require an extended dosage period.

Despite its genital herpes virus suppressing properties, Aciclovir does not eradicate the virus form the body and has no effect once the individual stops taking this herpes treatment. Aciclovir can be also be used for treating shingles (herpes zoster).

There are several brands of herpes medication which use aciclovir as their key component.

Aciclovir Tablets
400mg Aciclovir Tablets

Popular aciclovir based brands include:

  • Acivir Logo Acivir
  • Cyclovir
  • Herpex Logo Herpex
  • Zovir Logo Zovir
  • Zovirax Logo Zovirax

Aciclovir Side Effects

Common Side Effects

  • diarrhea
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Infrequent Side Effects

  • abdominal pain
  • agitation
  • arthralgia
  • confusion
  • constipation
  • dizziness
  • oedema
  • rash
  • sore throat
  • weekness

Rare Side Effects

  • anaphylaxis
  • anorexia
  • coma
  • crystalluria
  • fatigue
  • hepatitis
  • leukopenia
  • seizures
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • toxic epidermal necrolysis

Treating Recurring Infections of Genital Herpes

Repeated visits to the GUM clinic is not usually necessary following recurring infections of genital herpes.

The treatment, Aciclovir may again be prescribed by a doctor, but if genital herpes symptoms are mild you may be may be asked to manage symptoms without medication.